DC Casebook: Commercial and industrial - Toilet storage ruled out as wildlife threat

The use of three sheds on a Staffordshire farm to store portable toilets has been ruled unacceptable on the grounds that it is inappropriate in a rural area and would harm nature conservation.

The business use had already commenced, with some toilets stored outside the sheds and in the farmyard. An assortment of associated vehicles and two trailers was also present, raising concerns with the inspector that any commercial use would not be confined to the buildings. The dynamics of the business meant that activity on the site could change and conditions limiting the extent of external storage would severely inhibit flexibility, she decided.

Local residents' complaints about traffic and noise linked with the business indicated that a rural location was unsuitable to the type of use, she found. She was also concerned that effluent had been discharged into a nearby watercourse feeding into a special area of conservation (SAC).

She could not be certain that a bunded area connected to a sealed tank would ensure that no effluent reached the watercourse in future.

The Environment Agency had recommended that conditions be imposed on the operation. In the inspector's view, this was not a satisfactory approach because it would be incumbent on the appellant to demonstrate how the proposed measures would maintain the integrity of the SAC in accordance with the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.

DCS Number 100-069-591

Inspector Dee Burrows; Written representations.

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