Planning & Environment

You don’t see many mentions of hazardous substances consent, so a recent appeal decision caught my eye.

The circumstances sound very familiar to many planning appeals: local authority takes more cautious approach than statutory consultee (Health and Safety Executive in this case), and fails to provide sound scientific arguments to justify that approach, and reporter recommends grant of consent.

The site is an established whisky bond, with houses to the north. The council argued that the consent would lead to an increased level of hazardous material within the site, and it would be reasonable to assume that would increase the level of risk to the neighbouring residential use. The reporter noted that the council had granted planning permission for a further 3 warehouses in September 2010, to the south of the existing ones. The council must therefore have been aware that the intention was to store more whisky, and it would be inconsistent to grant planning permission for that purpose, yet withhold hazardous substances consent. The advice of the HSE should be overridden only on the basis of sound scientific arguments, which the council had not produced. Accordingly the reporter concluded the level of risk is acceptable.

No jokes about whisky being a hazardous substance please…

Neil Collar

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