QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| JADE HAMNETT
|- and -
|ESSEX COUNTY COUNCIL
Ms Barbara Hewson (instructed by Solicitor, Essex County Council) for the Defendant
Hearing date: 29 January 2014
Crown Copyright ©
Mr Justice Singh :
(1) they breach section 29 of the Equality Act 2010, read with sections 20 and 15;
(2) in making the orders the Defendant breached its duty in section 149 of the Equality Act, often known as the public sector equality duty;
(3) the Defendant's decision to make the orders was irrational.
The experimental traffic regulation orders
"The current situation is that Blue Badge holders have 26 spaces in the high street, and a further 10 in Head Street. The council have proposed to remove these, and replace them with 32 spaces in the car parks around the town. Our issue is not about the number of spaces, but where these spaces are located. The important issue is that the proposed new spaces should provide equivalent access to the high street and Head Street, and related services as far as possible by comparison with those lost.
The current parking is central, level, and is in very close proximity to shops, banks and other services. This criteria is what any alternative parking suggested should aim to meet.
All the proposed locations for new spaces already exist in the sense that Blue Badge holders are able to park there currently; and being significantly further away with some also entailing long gradients, they do not address the issue of equivalence. The straightforward removal of existing spaces from the high street without the equivalent provision suggests a failure to grasp the crucial significance of location (proximity) in Blue Badge parking."
The Defendant's evidence
The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
"except as provided by this Part of this Schedule, an order to which this Part of this Schedule applies shall not, either before or after it has been made, be questioned in any legal proceedings whatever."
The Equality Act 2010
"have due regard to the need to (a) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Act; (b) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it; and (c) foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it."
Case law on the public sector equality duty
The public sector equality duty