EU issues ‘final warning’ on high costs of legal challenges in the UK

14.4.2010   (Planning Resource)

by Mark Wilding

A   ‘final warning’ to the UK over the prohibitive costs of launching legal challenges
to planning decisions has been issued by the European Commission (EC).

Under European law, the public has a right to know about the impact of industrial
pollution and to challenge decisions based on their potential environmental impact.

The EC is concerned that the cost of cases based on legislation including the
Environmental Impact Assessment directive are preventing individuals and non-governmental
organisations in the UK from launching challenges.

The UK was warned about the issue in October 2007 and announced that the procedures
were under review.

But the EC is concerned that no changes have been made to the process and has
now issued a final warning.

Failure to comply with the warning could result in a summons to the European
Court of Justice.

European environment commissioner Janez Potocnik said: “When important decisions
affecting the environment are taken, the public must be allowed to challenge them.
This important principle is established in European law.

“But the law also requires that these challenges must be affordable. I urge the
UK to address this problem quickly as ultimately the health and wellbeing of the
public as a whole depends on these rights.”


see also


Environment: Commission warns UK about unfair cost of challenging decisions

Date Added: 20th March 2010

The EC is warning the UK about prohibitively expensive challenges to the legality
of decisions on the environment. The Commission sent an initial warning to the
UK government in 2007; failure to respond to this could result in a summons to
the European Court. The public must be allowed to challenge decisions. The Commission
is concerned that in the UK the cost is preventing NGOs and individuals from bringing
cases against public bodies. (Europa)

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