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No project-splitting for EIA in Brighton

In Catt v Brighton and Hove City Council [2013] EWHC 977 (Admin) Mr Justice Lindblom has dismissed claims for judicial review of three planning permissions granted by Brighton and Hove City Council for development at Withdean Stadium. The site is known to practitioners on account of previous EIA challenges by the same Claimant which also failed.

The Claimant's main argument was that in screening the development under the EIA Regulations the Council had unlawfully split the project into sub-projects (the so-called "salami-slicing" which got the authorities in Madrid into trouble when they divided works to the entire urban ring road into lengths which fell below the threshold for EIA). The Judge's assessment of the alleged project splitting at paragraphs 66-91 will be of some interest. Several other arguments were also made including the claim that the Council had "exceeded" their discretion.

Also interesting is the Judge's exercise of his discretion not to quash the grant of planning permission in June 2011 despite the fact the screening opinion was admittedly flawed. This decision does not alter or extend the principles established by existing case law, but the Judge was persuaded not to quash the Council's grant of planning permission in this particular case for reasons set out at paragraphs 139-145 of his judgment.

Harriet Townsend acted for the Defendant City Council.