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R (on the application of WYE VALLEY ACTION ASSOCIATION LTD) v HEREFORDSHIRE COUNCIL & NATIONAL FARMERS' UNION (Intervener)

A judge had been wrong to find that a local authority had erred in law in deciding that a development consisting of the erection of polytunnels on farmland in an area of out-standing natural beauty did not fall within the description "projects for the use of uncultivated land or semi-natural areas for intensive agricultural purposes" in the Town and Country Planning (Environ-mental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 Sch.2 para.1(a). The local authority had not misunderstood the expression "uncultivated land or semi-natural area", and had given adequate reasons for its screening opinion that an environmental impact assessment was not required for the development.

1 February 2011

The appellant local authority appealed against a decision ((2009) EWHC 3428 (Admin)) quashing the grant of planning permission for the erection of polytunnels on existing farmland in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The local authority had adopted a screening opinion under the Town and Country Planning (Environ-mental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999 and determined that the erection of polytunnels did not require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) because it did not fall within the description of "projects for the use of uncultivated land or semi-natural areas for intensive agricultural purposes" in Sch.2 para1(a). At the judicial review hearing, a judge determined that, since the site abutted an area of special conservation, a site of special scientific interest, and was overlooked by an ancient monu-ment and was in an area of outstanding natural beauty, it came within the definition of "semi-natural area" as a matter of law and the development wa...

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