Microbrewery impact on special protection area acceptable

The conversion of a farm building in Kent close to the Ashdown Forest special protection area (SPA) and special area of conservation (SAC) to a microbrewery was approved after an inspector reviewed the impact of additional traffic levels on air pollution.

200-004-338 (Image Credit: Prospective Planning on Behalf of the Appellant)
200-004-338 (Image Credit: Prospective Planning on Behalf of the Appellant)

The site lay five kilometres from the SPA and SAC. The council was in the process of undertaking air quality monitoring along a main route which would provide access to the brewery. The monitoring suggested that the forest might have excessive levels of nitrogen which was having an impact on the integrity of the SAC, which was particularly vulnerable to such emissions. The council accepted that the appeal would not have a significant impact on the forest on an individual basis but wished the appellant to enter into a planning obligation transferring a planning permission for another microbrewery close to the appeal site thereby minimising the net increase in traffic movements. The appellant had not agreed to this request, the second brewery falling outside his control.

The inspector decided that although the planning permission for the other brewery referred to by the council ran with the land, it was extremely unlikely that the current owner of that site would wish to re-start the production of beer. The appeal scheme in any event involved a less intensive form of production which would generate around two vehicle trips per day. No additional employees would be required to operate the brewery such that it would not have a significant impact on the SAC.

Inspector: Lucy Gibbons; Hearing

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