Planning & Environment

“This case is about rubbish.” – what a wonderful opening line from Lady Smith’s judgment.

The Inner House of the Court of Session rejected North Lanarkshire Council’s challenge to the grant of planning permission for Shore Energy’s materials recovery and renewable energy facility at Carnbroe. My previous post discusses the background to the case.

The decision shows how, post Tesco, the correctness of the interpretation of policy is an issue for the court to consider. Lady Smith noted that the QC for the Scottish Ministers pre-Tesco had refrained from giving the Outer House judge the Ministers’ view of the correct interpretation of the relevant policy (the revised Annex B to the Zero Waste Plan); but, in the Inner House post Tesco, did provide that view.

It will be interesting to see whether this enhanced level of legal scrutiny will result in more attention being paid to the quality of drafting when policies are being prepared. How often have we debated the differences between what policies were intended to mean, and what they actually say?

The case also shows the uphill struggle to challenge decisions on grounds of failure to provide adequate and intelligible reasons.

Neil Collar