ON APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT
QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION, PLANNING COURT
(MR JUSTICE OUSELEY)
London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF THAMES BLUE GREEN ECONOMY LIMITED||First Claimant|
|THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT||Defendant|
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF BLUE GREEN LONDON PLAN||Second Claimant|
|THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS||Defendant|
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The Second Claimant, Mr Stevens, appeared in person
Mr R Harwood (instructed by the Government Law Department) appeared on behalf of the Defendant
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LORD JUSTICE SALES:
"The Examining authority may in examining the application disregard representations if the Examining authority considers that the representations—
(b)relate to the merits of policy set out in a national policy statement.
"This subsection applies if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the adverse impact of the proposed development would outweigh its benefits."
"Even though this application is still at the arguability stage the appeal does not have a real prospect of success. The two stage process was introduced by the 2008 Act in order to avoid precisely the outcome which this appeal seeks to achieve: the reopening at the second (examination by the panel) stage of the process, of alternatives to the option (in this case the tunnel) which has been adopted by the Government in the first (NPS) stage of the process. The provisions of the 2008 Act must be interpreted with the underlying objective of having a two-stage process for NSIPs in mind. Although the Claimant focuses upon the terminology of the final sentence of paragraph 16.25 of the panel's report (paragraphs 24 and 25 of the judgment), there was, in reality, no other way in which the panel could reasonably have exercised its discretion under section 87(3) given the statutory objective - to settle strategic alternatives at the first stage - and the flagrant conflict between the 'no alternatives to the tunnel' policy set out in the NPS (paragraphs 8 and 9 of the judgment) and the 'alternatives to the tunnel' put forward by the Claimant."
"In deciding the application the Secretary of State must have regard to-
(d) any other matters which the Secretary of State thinks are both important and relevant to the Secretary of State's decision."
"The second ground of appeal ignores the role of the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment Directive. The 'options' that are still open at the EIA stage may well have been narrowed by the consideration and rejection of alternatives to the project under an SEA. Ground 2 effectively argues that alternatives which have been rejected at the SEA stage must be reconsidered at the EIA stage because 'all options' must be left open. Construing those words in the EIA Directive in isolation and in a literal manner is not a sensible interpretation of the EIA Directive in a context which includes the SEA Directive. The two Directives are intended to compliment, not duplicate, each other."
LORD JUSTICE SALES:
"(1)A court may entertain proceedings for questioning an order granting development consent only if—
(a)the proceedings are brought by a claim for judicial review, and
(b)the claim form is filed during the period of 6 weeks beginning with—
(i)the day on which the order is published."