Masthead Local Govt - Planning

Neighbour loses challenge to permission for poultry buildings in manure row

A local resident has lost a legal challenge over Shropshire Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the erection of four poultry buildings and associated development.

In Nicola Squire v Shropshire Council [2018] EWHC 1730 (Admin) the claimant, a neighbour of the proposed site near Bridgnorth, advanced two grounds of claim. These were that the council:

  • failed to consider the direct or indirect effects of the proposed development and operations as a result of manure storage and spreading, contrary to the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 2011 (2011/92/EU) and the regulations which transpose that Directive into English law, the Town and Country Planning (EIA) Regulations 2011
  • failed to take into account in deciding to grant planning permission the material considerations that the storing and spreading of manure from the proposed development would generate dust and odour.

In response Shropshire submitted that the committee of members determining the application had regard to all the relevant environmental information addressing manure storage and disposal and so complied with the requirements of the Directive and the Regulations.

The council also maintained that the material consideration of the potential impacts of manure storage and spreading were fully taken into account before planning permission was granted.

Since planning permission was granted, the farmer has entered into a unilateral undertaking under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 which, he and the council submitted, provided for all appropriate control by the council of manure spreading and storage so as to ensure there would be no unacceptable impact on the amenities of local residents.

Both he and the council argued that relief should be refused under section 31(2A) of the Senior Courts Act 1981.

Rhodri Price Lewis QC, sitting as a Deputy High Court judge, rejected the claim.

On the first ground he said Shropshire “did assess the direct and indirect effects of this proposed development before deciding to grant planning permission and did comply with its duties under the EIA Directive and the transposing Regulations”.

On the second ground, the judge found that the council “clearly did take into account the material consideration of the potential effects of manure management in deciding to grant planning permission. The issue is expressly dealt with in the officer's report and that report did contain the PPO's [Public Protection Officer's] assessment of the likely effects of manure management.”

On the undertaking, the judge said: “Given that I do not consider there has been an inadequate assessment here nor that any material consideration has been omitted from consideration, I do not need to address this issue save to observe that the unilateral undertaking should give the claimant comfort in the controls it affords the defendant."

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