Landmark Ruling Adds Additional Hurdle to Planning
A recent Court of Appeal Ruling in R (Save Britain’s Heritage) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Lancaster City Council holds that demolition of buildings is capable of constituting a project for the purposes of the EIA directive.
Essentially what this ruling means is that most forms of demolition will now require express planning permission and to be safe most Local Planning Authorities – in Northern Ireland this is Planning NI, formerly known as The Planning Service – will have to carry out an EIA screening process.
Where demolition is likely to have significant environmental impacts and permitted development rights do not apply i.e. in Conservation Areas, an EIA will be required. It is important to note that this assessment of whether significant environmental impacts are caused can only be assessed through the EIA screening process.
For those engaged in redevelopment or regeneration proposals anywhere in Belfast City Centre for instance where there is an element of demolition this ruling is significant as it means that such proposals will have to be screened and if significant environmental impacts are thought to occur as a result an EIA will be required.
This is another method of slowing or stopping development from happening through the planning system by those opposed to change.