Showing posts from April, 2020


The Environment Bill contains an interesting proposal in relation to street trees and which will be of great importance to highway authorities.   Unfortunately, it is let down by problematic draftsmanship. My original feeling was that this would be a short introduction to a conceptually straight-forward set of draft provisions.   Unfortunately, one comes across problems of draftsmanship from the outset and so the piece is much longer than I ever intended.   So be it ! Introduction Trees are, at the same time, both important and problematic.   On the one hand, they make an important contribution to the reduction of carbon dioxide, add to the character and appearance of both urban and rural areas, aid the mitigation of unpleasant particulates, aid sustainable drainage and can be of cultural importance to those who see them as providing to a ‘sense of place’.   On the other hand, they can disrupt footways, shed leaves (which can make footways slippery), obstruct highwa


Electronic filing in appeals  It is a fair guess that when the Planning Inspectorate say they are invoking the magic of modern IT, then something will go amiss. The famously dour Wittgenstein is said to have made an uncharacteristic joke: “ I will not say that I will see you tomorrow because I cannot predict the future” .   True, but one can hazard a fair guess based on past experience. This brings me to the current advice in Procedural Guide Planning appeals – England (March 2020).   Appendix I1 (@p.57) states: “ Documents submitted may be no bigger than 15mb each . It is your responsibility to keep your documents to a manageable size. If you have documents that are larger than this you can try the following; •       Break long documents into several files, but note the document naming conventions below. •       Try and use black and white wherever possible (unless submitting photographs). •       If submitting images, your software may have file/im


Or is it a matter for the decision-maker ? Development plan policies refer to ‘contamination’ but do not always define the expression.   This poses an immediate difficulty for those seeking to apply such policies.   Furthermore, it raises the question of whether an authority’s understanding of the expression is a matter of law for the courts or a matter of evaluation within the aegis of the authority’s statutory discretion.    By way of outright confirmation bias, this essay argues the latter on the basis that the judgment is a polycentric one which is a mixture of science, language and policy and is not suited to the forensic process. Some development plan policies The following are examples of this type of policy: Policy EN 2 of the Exeter City local plan provides that, where development is proposed on or near a site where there is contamination or good reason to believe that contamination may exist, the developer should carry out a site assessment to establ