Planning & Environment

The European Convention on Human Rights is 60 years old this week. When the Human Rights Act came into force in the UK almost 13 years ago, there was a flurry of excitement about the implications for planning (yes, I wrote a book about it …).

In Scotland, the County Properties case threw doubt on the compliance of planning appeal procedures, after the Lord Ordinary upheld arguments of breach of the independent and impartial tribunal requirement imposed by article 6. That decision was reversed on appeal.

Article 6 arguments have rumbled on, especially when Local Review Bodies were proposed, but actual legal challenges have been very rare and largely unsuccessful.

The rights to respect for private and family life (article 8), and peaceful enjoyment of possessions (First Protocol Article 1), have made more of an impact, with some successful human rights challenges in the English courts from travelling persons in enforcement cases.

So human rights have not set the planning heather on fire, but can’t be forgotten about.

Neil Collar