BREAKTHROUGH IN PLANNING LAW AND THE PEOPLES RIGHT TO KNOW – A GAME CHANGER SAY LAWYERS.

A ruling by the UN Economic Commission Committee tribunal in Geneva has ruled that the UK Government acted illegally by denying the public decision-making powers and the necessary information over the benefits and adverse effects of wind farms.
The tribunal has ruled that the UK flouted Artcle 7 of the Aarhus Convention which requires full and effective public participation on ALL environmental issues and demands that citizens are given the right to participate in the process.
WAG has studied the Aarhus Convention and related legislation, including the Strategic Environmental Assessment [2001/42/EC] and guidance given by the Deputy Prime Ministers Office and is confident that the decision has wide and general applicability by all ‘appropriate authorities’.
The tribunal decision given in favour of campaigner Christine Metcalfe who challenged the decision to grant permission for a wind farm in Scotland has been described by lawyers as ‘a game- changer’.
David Hart Q.C. an environmental lawyer said ‘This ruling means that consents and permissions for further wind-farm development in Scotland and the UK are liable to challenge on the grounds that the necessary policy preliminaries have not been complied with and that, in effect, the public has been denied the chance to consider and contribute’.
Christine Metcalfe in her application complained that she had not been given access to information to allow her to make an informed judgement about the application and that important information had been ‘lost’ or was missing.
It is common knowledge that SMDC has had its own difficulties over the issue of wind turbines in the Moorlands and even on a narrow basis this decision has serious implications for the whole of the authorities Core Strategy currently under consideration by an Independent Inspector.
WAG is happy to help other environmental and local action groups, Parish Councils etc understand the full implication of this judgement for local issues on which the public should be [and/or should have been] consulted. See contact details above.