Planning & Environment

The Inner House of the Court of Session has rejected arguments that a Local Review Body’s decision to grant planning permission for two wind turbines in the Borders was legally flawed.

Judges stated again that issues of planning judgement are not for the Court to consider; only whether the decision is within the powers of the 1997 Act and whether the statutory requirements have been complied with.

The Court considered various issues (adequacy of reasons, natural justice, proportionality) and most importantly ruled that in reaching its decision the LRB was required to approach the matter “de novo”.

The LRB must therefore approach the matter anew and cannot simply rubberstamp the planning officer’s original decision on the application.

This accords with the advice given by the Scottish Government’s Chief Planner by letter dated 29th June 2011 to the Heads of Planning.

Whilst the LRB’s decision notice was held to meet the statutory requirements; the Court commented that the notice was “not a model of clarity or an example of the best practice which might be achieved… [and] could have included the provision of more detailed reasons” for its determination. LRBs have been warned!

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