A blog about planning, planning law and planning policy


The information on this blog is not intended to be advice, legal or otherwise. You should not rely on it and I do not accept liability in connection with it. If you do have a planning law question on which you would like advice, seek legal advice from a suitably qualified solicitor. Specific advice should be sought for specific problems.

Habitats directive under fire

Bernard JenkinGo to this BBC iPlayer podcast of today’s PM programme (http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b01qdzc2/) for an interesting five minute report on the difficulties caused by (and apparent aims of) the Habitats Directive (51 minutes and 21 seconds through the podcast, available till 13th February). Bernard Jenkin MP is campaigning against it.  CPRE claim that the Government has said it wants to repeal/amend the directive. The problem with the Habitats directive is in my view not so much that it seeks to preserve habitats and promote biodiversity, but that it prescribes what the decision is to be if certain circumstances exist. So if there is a likelihood of significant effects on a Special Area of Conservation or Special Protection Area, authorities can only approve the project after having ascertained that it will not adversely affect the integrity of the site concerned.  Their discretion is severely limited.  The Directive tells them what to do, namely to refuse planning permission. It might be thought this is contrary to the subsidiarity principle.  And to localism.  George Osborne commissioned a review in 2011 of the operation of the directive in this country, (see my earlier post here) and there is now a special unit within Government to assist developments and authorities to navigate the rules.  But in truth is it not time to renegotiate the directive so as to restore discretion to member states?

What do people think?

2 comments to Habitats directive under fire

  • Michael Williams

    Every time the CAP, the EU’s democratic deficit or its failure to look at allegations of corruption make me question whether we should be in the EU, I come across an item like this and thank God we are still subject to a regime which does not see profit as the measure of all things.

  • The simplest solution is to leave the EU but until then our leaders need to claw back all the powers lost over the years, we joined a common market, we didn’t envisage a regulatory straightjacket did we?

    For the record I am apolitical, only interested in what is best for our future.

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