Another note on record-keeping

A north Wales resident’s challenge to the local council’s decision that an environmental assessment was not required for two wind turbines failed, a High Court judge deciding that the planning officer was able to provide an accurate account of the information that had been taken into consideration in its decision (Jedwell v Denbighshire County Council [10/3/2016]).

The judge noted that the council was required to give adequate reasons for not requiring an environmental assessment after a negative screening decision in accordance with Mellor v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2010]. He held that it was important for all authorities to maintain a record of the reasons for issuing a negative screening opinion so that this could be provided on request. If reasons could be provided, he added, the courts would be slow to quash permissions. If, however, no contemporaneous reasons were forthcoming, the courts might well quash a decision unless the planning authority could show that the decision would have been the same. In the case before him, he was satisfied adequate reasons had been provided and it was not appropriate to grant the claimant’s request because no prejudice had arisen.   

Local authorities might wish to check the extent and nature of the information being kept on record in the light of this ruling.

The following DCP chapter is relevant: 5.153

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