High Court Quashes Planning Permission for Energy Storage Facility Following Environmental Impact Assessment Errors Regarding Major Development

25th September, 2018

R (oao Kenneth Ross) v East Hampshire District Council and Anesco Limited (Case No.: CO/2073/2018)

In a news item issued by Francis Taylor Building, the Interested Party, Anesco sought planning permission for a proposal described as the “Installation of two energy storage systems and associated infrastructure with a total capacity of 49.95mw.”  The proposed site for the development is part of a larger field currently in arable use.  It lies immediately to the south of the existing Lovedean Electricity Sub-Station in the countryside and to the west of a nearby Solar Farm and the boundary of the South Downs National Park.  The site is not within the SDNP.

Mr Kenneth Ross, a local resident living with his family near the site, instructed planning consultants, Pro Vision, to object on his behalf detailing various flaws in the way in which the proposal was being considered by the Defendant Council.  Planning permission was nonetheless granted.  Mr Ross sought judicial review on a number of grounds.  

Both East Hampshire District Council and Anesco consented to judgment on the following terms approved by the High Court by an order dated 7 September 2018:

  • The Defendant wrongly concluded the Interested Party’s development was not “major development” within the meaning of  Article 2(1)(e) of the Town and Country Planning Development Management Procedure Order 2015. Consequently, the Defendant unlawfully validated the application and in so doing failed to require the submission of, or to take into account, relevant considerations (both in respect of the planning application and the need for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)) such as a flood risk assessment, lighting assessment, sustainability appraisal and a transport assessment and travel plan; and
     
  • The Defendant’s conclusion that the Interested Party’s development was not development that required an EIA failed to take any proper account of the cumulative impact of the project, contrary to Schedule 3, paragraph 14 of The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017.
     
  • The Defendant Council also agreed to pay Mr Ross’s full costs to be assessed if not agreed.

Gregory Jones QC of Francis Taylor Building, instructed by James Smith Planning Law Services Ltd assisted by Pro Vision, acted for Mr Ross.