QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| NO ADASTRAL NEW TOWN LTD
|- and -
|SUFFOLK COASTAL DISTRICT COUNCIL
THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Paul Shadarevian and Emma Dring (instructed by Suffolk Coastal District Council Legal Services) for the Defendant
Hearing dates: 16th, 17th, 20th and 21st January 2014
Crown Copyright ©
Mrs Justice Patterson :
i) that the defendant has failed to comply with the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive (2001/42/EU) implemented in domestic law by the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004;
ii) that the defendant has failed to comply with the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) implemented in domestic law by the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (2010 Regulations) in that the appropriate assessment was not carried out at a sufficiently early stage to inform the defendant about the potential impact of residential development on the Deben Estuary SPA;
iii) that in further contravention of the Habitats Directive and 2010 Regulations the mitigation relied upon within the CS was too uncertain;
iv) that adopted policy SP20 is undeliverable.
Preparation of Development Plan documents
"The local planning authority must also-
a) carry out an appraisal of the sustainability of the proposals in each (Development Plan document);
b) prepare a report on the findings of the appraisal."
That is known as the sustainability appraisal (SA).
"(5) The purpose of an independent examination is to determine in respect of the development plan document—
(a) whether it satisfies the requirements of sections 19 and 24(1), Regulations under section 17(7) and any Regulations under section 36 relating to the preparation of development plan documents;
(b) whether it is sound."
Challenges to the Development Plan
(a) a document is not within the appropriate power;
(b) a procedural requirement has not been complied with.
"(2) The report shall identify, describe and evaluate the likely significant effects on the environment of— "
(a)implementing the plan or programme; and
(b)reasonable alternatives taking into account the objectives and the geographical scope of the plan or programme."
(3) The report shall include such of the information referred to in Schedule 3 of these Regulations as may reasonably be required, taking account of –"
(a) current knowledge and methods of assessment;
(b) the contents and level of detail in the plan or programme;
(c) the stage of the plan or programme in the decision making process; and
(d) the extent to which certain matters are more appropriately assess at different levels in that process in order to avoid duplication of the assessment."
"13. (1) Every draft plan or programme for which an environmental report has been prepared in accordance with Regulation 12 and its accompanying environmental report ("the relevant documents") shall be made available for the purposes of consultation in accordance with the following provisions of this regulation. "
(2) As soon as reasonably practicable after the preparation of the relevant documents, the responsible authority shall—
(a) send a copy of those documents to each consultation body;
(b) take such steps as it considers appropriate to bring the preparation of the relevant documents to the attention of the persons who, in the authority's opinion, are affected or likely to be affected by, or have an interest in the decisions involved in the assessment and adoption of the plan or programme concerned, required under the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Directive ("the public consultees");
(c) inform the public consultees of the address (which may include a website) at which a copy of the relevant documents may be viewed, or from which a copy may be obtained; and
(d) invite the consultation bodies and the public consultees to express their opinion on the relevant documents, specifying the address to which, and the period within which, opinions must be sent.
(3) The period referred to in paragraph (2)(d) must be of such length as will ensure that the consultation bodies and the public consultees are given an effective opportunity to express their opinion on the relevant documents.
(4) The responsible authority shall keep a copy of the relevant documents available at its principal office for inspection by the public at all reasonable times and free of charge. "
"SCHEDULE 2 Regulation 12(3)
INFORMATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTS
1. An outline of the contents and main objectives of the plan or programme, and of its relationship with other relevant plans and programmes.
2. The relevant aspects of the current state of the environment and the likely evolution thereof without implementation of the plan or programme.
3. The environmental characteristics of areas likely to be significantly affected.
4. Any existing environmental problems which are relevant to the plan or programme including, in particular, those relating to any areas of a particular environmental importance, such as areas designated pursuant to Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds and the Habitats Directive.
5. The environmental protection objectives, established at international, Community or Member State level, which are relevant to the plan or programme and the way those objectives and any environmental considerations have been taken into account during its preparation.
6. The likely significant effects on the environment, including short, medium and long-term effects, permanent and temporary effects, positive and negative effects, and secondary, cumulative and synergistic effects, on issues such as—
(c) human health;
(i) climatic factors;
(j) material assets;
(k) cultural heritage, including architectural and archaeological heritage;
(l) landscape; and
(m) the inter-relationship between the issues referred to in sub-paragraphs (a) to (l).
7. The measures envisaged to prevent, reduce and as fully as possible offset any significant adverse effects on the environment of implementing the plan or programme.
8. An outline of the reasons for selecting the alternatives dealt with, and a description of how the assessment was undertaken including any difficulties (such as technical deficiencies or lack of know-how) encountered in compiling the required information.
9. A description of the measures envisaged concerning monitoring in accordance with Regulation 17.
10. A non-technical summary of the information provided under paragraphs 1 to 9."
The Habitats Directive and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010
"2. Member States shall take appropriate steps to avoid, in the special areas of conservation, the deterioration of natural habitats and the habitats of species as well as disturbance of the species for which the areas have been designated, in so far as such disturbance could be significant in relation to the objectives of this Directive.
3. Any plan or project not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site but likely to have a significant effect thereon, either individually or in combination with other plans or projects, shall be subject to appropriate assessment of its implications for the site in view of the site's conservation objectives. In the light of the conclusions of the assessment of the implications for the site and subject to the provisions of paragraph 4, the competent national authorities shall agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned and, if appropriate, after having obtained the opinion of the general public."
"61. (1) A competent authority, before deciding to undertake, or give any consent, permission or other authorisation for, a plan or project which— "
(a)is likely to have a significant effect on a European site or a European offshore marine site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects), and
(b)is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of that site,
must make an appropriate assessment of the implications for that site in view of that site's conservation objectives.
(2) A person applying for any such consent, permission or other authorisation must provide such information as the competent authority may reasonably require for the purposes of the assessment or to enable them to determine whether an appropriate assessment is required.
(3) The competent authority must for the purposes of the assessment consult the appropriate nature conservation body and have regard to any representations made by that body within such reasonable time as the authority specify.
(4) They must also, if they consider it appropriate, take the opinion of the general public, and if they do so, they must take such steps for that purpose as they consider appropriate.
(5) In the light of the conclusions of the assessment, and subject to Regulation 62 (considerations of overriding public interest), the competent authority may agree to the plan or project only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the European site or the European offshore marine site (as the case may be).
(6) In considering whether a plan or project will adversely affect the integrity of the site, the authority must have regard to the manner in which it is proposed to be carried out or to any conditions or restrictions subject to which they propose that the consent, permission or other authorisation should be given."
"102 (1) Where a land use plan— "
(a) is likely to have a significant effect on a European site or a European offshore marine site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects), and
(b) is not directly connected with or necessary to the management of the site,
the plan-making authority for that plan must, before the plan is given effect, make an appropriate assessment of the implications for the site in view of that site's conservation objectives.
(2) The plan-making authority must for the purposes of the assessment consult the appropriate nature conservation body and have regard to any representations made by that body within such reasonable time as the authority specify.
(3) They must also, if they consider it appropriate, take the opinion of the general public, and if they do so, they must take such steps for that purpose as they consider appropriate.
(4) In the light of the conclusions of the assessment, and subject to Regulation 103 (considerations of overriding public interest), the plan-making authority or, in the case of a regional strategy, the Secretary of State must give effect to the land use plan only after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the European site or the European offshore marine site (as the case may be)."
"It may damage wildlife sites and habitats of protected species."
"The council is duty bound to afford protection to areas designated for their wildlife and geo-diversity interest with the highest level of protection going to those areas of international and national importance. The issue in relation to the core strategy will be to ensure that sufficient regard is had to these areas when identifying levels and scales of new development to be accommodated throughout the district. Whilst some of the broad locations identified for development are included at this level, it is more of an issue to be addressed at the site specific allocation stage where development will, wherever possible, avoid such areas if impact is deemed to be significant and mitigation measures are impractical."
"The council must demonstrate that the core strategy and the choices made in its production are sustainable. This will be particularly important when it is considered by an independent inspector later in the process. An appraisal needs to be carried out and in order to demonstrate objectivity this could be done independently. This is a lengthy process involving examining each aspect of the core strategy - objectives, strategic policies, and development control policies, directions of growth - and alternatives against sustainability criteria. Time has not permitted the appraisal of the attached document but Suffolk County Council, which is familiar with this type of work across Suffolk, has appraised the report to the Local Development Framework Task Group on the 1st October 2008."
"Any development is likely to bring additional pressure to any of the sites of European Interest, however the area near Martlesham identified as a "preferred option" could have particularly negative impacts upon the Deben Estuary SPA/SSSI. Site specific appropriate assessment will reveal any further issues."
"Increased housing allocation in the more sensitive parts of the district will result in negative impacts. Site specific appropriate assessment will reveal any issues."
"Any development is likely to bring additional pressure to any of the sites of European Interest. However, the area near Martlesham identified as a "preferred option" could have particularly negative impacts upon the Deben Estuary SPA/SSI."
The AA was carried out on the basis of 1050 new houses at SP20.
"it is understood that since the preferred option was published, proposals for development at Martlesham have come forward which will be over 1 kilometre from the Deben Estuary, together with new green space provision. In this case it is unlikely that visitor recreation activity would substantially increase on the foreshore of the Deben Estuary SPA at Martlesham, so there is expected to be no new high levels of disturbance to what is currently a little disturbed and a "refuge" area for SPA qualifying birds."
A new country park was proposed as mitigation with a location in the Martlesham area being regarded as a good choice.
"Doubling the numbers of new houses at Martlesham provides the impetus/opportunity to create a stand alone community which is of a scale to trigger the need for wider community benefits, particularly a secondary school, and improved public transport provision. It will also increase the amount of developer contribution available to pay for necessary infrastructure. A larger scale development also has the opportunity to provide for a more meaningful set of mitigation measures which can be provided to limit the impact of development on the nearby AONB and nature conservation interests of the Estuary. The area has lower negative impacts on landscape quality and public amenity overall than other potential alternatives.
"The new policy is marginally less sustainable due to additions of land abutting Adastral Park being identified for development… there is the additional concern about access to the countryside and proximity to the Deben SPA. Mitigation will need to take place with a consideration of site specific proposals including an appropriate assessment."
No other option was considered within the document apart from SP20.
"The latest version of this policy is also marginally more sustainable. This is because the policy now seeks to preserve and enhance environmentally sensitive locations in this extremely sensitive area. Previous iterations of the sustainability appraisal, site specific assessment and appropriate assessment have all highlighted the concerns over allocating housing east of the A12 at Martlesham due to the close proximity of the Deben Estuary RAMSAR/SPA. The latest version of this policy attempts to mitigate against these potential problems. However further measures are likely to be required to adequately preserve and enhance this environmentally sensitive area. The proposed area action plan will need to safe guard designated areas to preserve the wildlife and habitat on the estuary. A site specific appropriate assessment will also be required."
"The mitigation identified has been put forward in the context of the evidence base and is considered as sufficient to reduce predicted adverse impacts to an acceptable level. A wide range of statutory consultation bodies, including NE, EA and EH have been fully engaged in the process, and have expressed their general satisfaction with the RCS proposals and subsequent mitigation. It is acknowledged that further detailed assessment will be required at the area action plan or planning application stage. This is normal practice."
"The council will require the area action plan be supported by an appropriate assessment to meet the requirements of the Habitats Regulations. If the results of the appropriate assessment show that part of the strategy cannot be delivered without adverse impacts on the Deben Estuary SPA which cannot be mitigated, then the plan will only make provision for the level and location of development for which it can be concluded that there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of the SPA… Specifically, on land to the south and east of Adastral Park, strategic open space in the form of a country park or similar high quality provision will be required to mitigate the impact of development at this site and the wider cumulative impact of residential development on Deben and Orwell Estuaries and the Sandlings."
"The appropriate assessment (AA) for the core strategy (2011) states that a 1 kilometre separation of strategic allocations from Europeans sites is necessary, plus improvements to local green space for routine use. This needs to be provided in the area action plan and needs to be available when housing in the Adastral park area starts to be occupied so local routines are established from the outset that minimise this pressures on the Deben SPA. The AA suggested a new country park (or similar high quality provision) is needed to mitigate the cumulative effect of new housing provision in IBC and SCDC. As IBC proposed the provision of a country park within the northern fringe allocation, plus the modified policy here requires it for the Adastral Park development, provided both are available when houses are occupied, adverse impact on SPA designation should be avoided."
"There is no requirement under either the SEA Directive or the Regulations for an SA to be produced at each and every stage of local plan preparation. Although the SA of the alternatives was not available to councillors when the initial decision was made to support 2000 dwellings at Martlesham it was published at a later stage and it was open to the council to come to another view in the light of that information. Indeed there was a motion before the full Council, which was lost, that would have led to reconsideration of the options. Consultation had taken place on a SA that included the alternatives, and the responses would have been taken into account before the CS was submitted for examination. In that respect, the SA of the alternatives in the Eastern Ipswich Plan Area was capable of influencing the CS content."
"Irrespective of whether or not the council had heard at an earlier stage, the SAs accompanying the submitted CS and the main modifications had considered and evaluated reasonable alternatives."
"While the detailed calculations of the specific scale of provision and the types of facilities to be included are matters for the area action plan or planning application, there is sufficient evidence that this element of the mitigation required by the AA can be achieved and is deliverable in phase with a new housing development."
On the 5th July 2013 the defendant resolved to adopt the CS.
Ground One: Did the defendant act in breach of the SEA Directive and the 2004 Regulations?
i) When it decided in July 2008 to select option 4, namely land to the east of Martlesham, as the preferred option for 1050 houses without having carried out a SA as required. As a consequence the defendant reached that decision without any consideration of the Deben SPA which was not recognised as a potential constraint until December 2008.
ii) When it decided, in July 2009, to double the amount of housing proposed on area 4 without carrying out any reconsideration of the earlier options for housing development. As a result, the defendant failed to consider the effect of putting the additional 950 houses elsewhere than on area 4.
"The environmental assessment referred to in Article 3 shall be carried out during the preparation of a plan or programme and before its adoption or submission to the legislative procedure."
1. Where an environmental assessment is required under Article 3(1), an environmental report shall be prepared in which the likely significant effects on the environment of implementing the plan or programme, and reasonable alternatives taking into account the objectives and the geographical scope of the plan or programme, are identified, described and evaluated. The information to be given for this purpose is referred to in Annex I."
Article 5.2 says,
"The environmental report prepared pursuant to paragraph 1 shall include the information that may reasonably be required taking into account current knowledge and methods of assessment, the contents and level of detail in the plan or programme, its stage in the decision making process and the extent to which certain matters are more appropriately assessed at different levels in that process in order to avoid duplication of the assessment."
"Any existing environmental problems which are relevant to the plan or programme including, in particular, those relating to any areas of a particular environmental importance, such as areas designated pursuant to Directive 79/409/EEC and 92/43/EEC."
"It is abundantly clear from the Directive and the SEA regulations that the sustainability appraisal must be carried out at every stage of the development of the core strategy and must also be carried out in respect of all reasonable alternatives under consideration."
" The scheme of the Directive and the Regulations clearly envisages the parallel development of the environmental report and the draft plan with the former impacting on the development of the latter throughout the periods before, during and after the public consultation. In the period before public consultation the developing environmental report will influence the developing plan and there will be engagement with the consultation body on the contents of the report. Where the latter becomes largely settled, even though as a draft plan, before the development of the former, then the fulfilment of the scheme of the Directive and the Regulations may be placed in jeopardy. The later public consultation on the environmental report and draft plan may not be capable of exerting the appropriate influence on the contents of the draft plan."
And at ,
"Once again the environmental report and the draft plan operate together and the consultees consider each in the light of the other. This must occur at a stage that is sufficiently "early" to avoid in effect a settled outcome having been reached and to enable the responses to be capable of influencing the final form. Further this must also be "effective" in that it does in the event actually influence the final form. While the scheme of the Directive and the Regulations does not demand simultaneous publication of the draft plan and the environmental report it clearly contemplates the opportunity for concurrent consultation on both documents."
"I accept that the plan-making process permits the broad options at stage one to be reduced or closed at the next stage, so that a preferred option or group of options emerges; there may then be a variety of narrower options about how they are progressed, and that that too may lead to a chosen course which may have itself further optional forms of implementation. It is not necessary to keep open all options for the same level of detailed examination at all stages. But if what I have adumbrated is the process adopted, an outline of the reasons for the selection of the options to be taken forward for assessment at each of those stages is required, even if that is left to the final SA, which for present purposes is the September 2009 SA."
"It is clear from the terms of Article 5 of the Directive and the guidance from the Commission that the authority responsible for the adoption of the plan or programme as well as the authorities and public consulted must be presented with an accurate picture of what reasonable alternatives there are and why they are not considered to be the best option (See Commission Guidance Paragraphs 5.11 to 5.14). Equally, the environmental assessment and the draft plan must operate together so that consultees can consider each in the light of the other. That was the view of Weatherup J in the Northern Irish case Re Seaport investments Ltd's Application for Judicial Review  Env. LR 23. However that does not mean that when the draft plan finally decided on by the authority and the accompanying environmental assessment are put out to consultation before the necessary examination is held there cannot have been during the iterative process a prior ruling out of alternatives. But this is subject to the important proviso that reasons have been given for the rejection of the alternatives, that those reasons are still valid if there has been any change in the proposals in the draft plan or any other material change of circumstances and that the consultees are able, whether by reference to the part of the earlier assessment giving the reasons or by summary of those reasons or, if necessary, by repeating them, to know from the assessment accompanying the draft plan what those reasons are. I do not think the Seaport case, which turned on its own facts including the lapse of time of over a year between the assessment and the draft plan, can provide any further assistance."
Discussion and Conclusion
"The objective of this Directive is to provide for a high level of protection of the environment and to contribute to the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation and adoption of plans and programmes with a view to promoting sustainable development, by ensuring that, in accordance with this Directive, an environmental assessment is carried out of certain plans and programmes which are likely to have significant effects on the environment."
"2(b) "environmental assessment" shall mean the preparation of an environmental report, the carrying out of consultations, the taking into account of the environmental report and the results of the consultations in decision-making and the provision of information on the decision in accordance with Articles 4 to 9;"
"1.1. Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment ('the SEA Directive')2 entered into force on 21st July 2001 and has to be implemented by Member States before 21st July 2004. It will greatly affect the work of many public authorities by obliging them to consider systematically whether the plans and programmes they prepare come within its scope of application and hence whether they need to carry out an environmental assessment of their proposals, in accordance with the procedures laid down in he Directive.
"It is important to note that the plans and programmes defined in paragraph 2 should as a rule be subject to systematic environmental assessment."
"4.2. As a matter of good practice, the environmental assessment of plans and programmes should influence the way the plans and programmes themselves are drawn up. While a plan or programme is relatively fluid, it may be easier to discard elements which are likely to have undesirable environmental effects than it would be when the plan or programme has been completed. At that stage, an environmental assessment may be informative but is likely to be less influential. Article 4(1) places a clear obligation on authorities to carry out the assessment during the preparation of the plan or programme.
"5.7. According to Article 4(1) the environmental assessment shall be carried out during the preparation of a plan or programme and before its adoption or submission to the legislative procedure. The process of preparing the report should start as early as possible and, ideally, at the same time as the preparation of the plan or programme. The preparation of the report should normally have ended when the report is made available to authorities and the public in accordance with Article 6(1)."
"7.4. This definition clearly states that consultation is an inseparable part of the assessment. Further, the results of the consultation have to be taken into account when the decision is being made. If either element is missing, there is, by definition, no environmental assessment in conformity with the Directive. This underlines the importance that is attached to consultation in the assessment." (emphasis in original)
"The updated appraisal looking at 2000 houses suggests area 4 is very marginally the least sustainable however all areas will require new investment in infrastructure and generate similar concerns for cumulative impact upon Natura 2000 designations."
i) the individual decisions complained about were corrected by the defendant before the plan was adopted as set out above;
ii) the decision to increase the housing numbers on SP20 to 2000 was taken on valid grounds taking into account environmental considerations as part of a classic planning judgement. There is no basis for separating out environmental considerations;
iii) when the council made the decision on the 18th March 2010 to proceed with the Development Plan it was fully informed about the environmental implications on all alternative sites and the results of the public consultation on the effect of 2000 houses on all 5 of the original option sites;
iv) the pre-submission draft Development Plan included an updated SA which dealt with the main issues raised on housing distribution, the alternative sites which had been considered, and the increase in housing numbers at SP20 including their environmental impact. Although the claimant criticises that document and that in August 2011, which also went out for consultation, on the basis that they create an unacceptable paper chase the situation is very different from the case of Berkeley v Secretary of State for the Environment  3 WLR 420 which the claimant relies upon. In that case there was no environmental assessment at all. In the instant case there was a complete reference back to earlier documents and the reasons for rejecting earlier options. Applying the test of Collins J in Save Historic Newmarket Limited v Forest Heath  EWHC 606 at  where he said,"In my judgment, Mr Elvin is correct to submit that the final report accompanying the proposed Core Strategy to be put to the inspector was flawed. It was not possible for the consultees to know from it what were the reasons for rejecting any alternatives to the urban development where it was proposed or to know why the increase in the residential development made no difference. The previous reports did not properly give the necessary explanations and reasons and in any event were not sufficiently summarised nor were the relevant passages identified in the final report. There was thus a failure to comply with the requirements of the Directive and so relief must be given to the claimants. "The consultees were well aware of the reasons for rejecting the alternatives to the development that was proposed here.
v) The inspector considered whether the CS was sound in his report. He considered that it was for reasons set out in paragraphs 16-27 (contained in an Appendix to this judgment) of his report to the defendant. His report was fully reasoned and took into account all material considerations, including the development of the CS and the various legal judgments that were delivered during its preparation. It has not be criticised by the claimant;
vi) The council had sufficient and good reasons to act as it did as set out above. It, therefore, acted rationally at the critical stage of the Development Plan.
Ground Two: Did the defendant fail to comply with the Habitats Directive and 2010 Regulations in that an appropriate assessment was not carried out at a sufficiently early stage to inform the defendant about the potential impact of residential development on the Deben Estuary ?
Ground Three: Was the defendant in further contravention of the Habitats Directive and Regulations in that the mitigation relied by upon by the defendant was too uncertain ?
"Even after the conclusion of the normal authorisation procedure under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive the general obligation laid down in article 6(2) must apply to avoid deterioration or significant disturbance attributable to the implementation of a plan or project."
"Article 6(2) of the Habitats Directive establishes an obligation of general protection consisting in avoiding deterioration and disturbances which could have significant effects in the light of the Directive's objectives, and cannot be applicable concomitantly with article 6(3)"
i) there has been no meaningful consultation about the mitigation measures; and
ii) it is irrational to locate a country park so close to the Deben Estuary;
iii) the defendant took into account an immaterial consideration, namely, the BT planning application.
Discussion and Conclusion
"vii) The council will require further proposals to be supported by an appropriate assessment to meet the requirements of the Habitats Regulations. If the results of the appropriate assessment show that part of the strategy cannot be delivered without adverse impacts on designated European sites which cannot be mitigated, then the proposals will only make provision for the level and location of development for which it can be concluded that there will be no adverse effect on the integrity of the designated European nature Conservation site…. Specifically on land to the south and east of Adastral Park, strategic open space in the form of a country park or similar high quality provision will be required to mitigate the impact of the development at this site and the wider cumulative impact of residential development on the relevant designated European Nature conservation sites."
"The council has proposed modifications to the plan (MM22) which identify a provision of a country park or similar high quality provision on the land to the south and east of Adastral Park, Martlesham. While the detailed calculations of the specific scale of provision and types of facilities to be included are matters for an area action plan or planning application, there is sufficient evidence that this element of the mitigation available by the AA can be achieved and is deliverable in phase with the new housing development."
Ground Four: Is adopted policy SP20 is undeliverable ?
Discussion and Conclusions
"With the main modifications indicated strategy for the Eastern Ipswich plan area is soundly based and deliverable."
"The Core Strategy as adopted itself recognises the possibility of future negative appropriate assessment and makes provision for what it to happen in that event. I accept that it is the case that the deliverability of the Northern Gateway CS6 policy as set out in the Core Strategy is conditional upon a future appropriate assessment. However, contrary to the claimant's submission the Core Strategy does not represent an irrevocable commitment to the Northern Gateway project, in the form there set out. Rather, because of the qualifying wording, it represents a conditional commitment to that project. There is nothing wrong in approving something in principle which may not happen in the future if the condition is not satisfied…"
"The scheme of the Directive does not involve enormously detailed studies proposed at this stage. There is no evidence as to precisely what studies might be carried out and what the results might be.
One cannot have a strategic plan based on an entirely failsafe position that the only developments that can be allowed in the strategic plan are those which however they are implemented, cannot possibly have an effect on an SAC. That, in my judgment, is not what the procedure requires."