Planning & Environment

“Salami slicing” is an issue in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – the need to guard against a project being split into parts to avoid the need for EIA.

In the Larkfleet case it was claimed that a link road and a residential site were so inter-connected as to be a single project. Reference was made to functional connections, design connections, the particular route chosen for the link road, financial connections, and the degree of co-operation and co-ordination between the link road team and the residential site developers.

That was rejected by the Court, who referred to the strong planning need for the construction of the link road to complete a by-pass, whether or not the residential site is developed.

The Court also rejected the fallback argument that the environmental statement for the link road failed to address adequately the cumulative effects of that project in combination with the proposed development of the residential site.

The practical difficulties of assessing cumulative effects are acknowledged – the judgment states that the ES “supplied as much information as it reasonably could about the cumulative effects, taking account of the degree of uncertainty which existed about the precise details of development of the residential site …. [it] gave the appropriate data to the level which LCC as the applicant for permission could reasonably be required to compile, having regard to current knowledge … I find it very difficult to see what more it could usefully have said in terms of identifying likely cumulative impacts”.

Neil Collar