Environment

News and in-depth coverage of environmental issues and the effect of climate change on town planning.

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Environment News

Westminster to submit City Plan with ramped up green and affordable housing policies

Westminster to submit City Plan with ramped up green and affordable housing policies

Westminster City Council is to submit its new draft City Plan for examination after a consultation last year prompted changes including a relaxed maximum size limit on new homes plus stronger environmental and affordable housing targets.

Inspector overturns refusal of 1,100-home Essex urban extension

Inspector overturns refusal of 1,100-home Essex urban extension

A planning inspector has allowed an appeal against an Essex council's refusal of plans for a 1,138-home urban extension on flood risk grounds after he concluded that the developer's approach to surface water drainage was in "full compliance with the development plan".

Appeal Court overturns landmark wind farm judgment on amending planning conditions

Appeal Court overturns landmark wind farm judgment on amending planning conditions

Appeal Court judges have overturned a landmark High Court ruling on the extent to which applicants can vary existing permissions after finding that a planning inspector acted "beyond her powers" in allowing a variation to conditions attached to a wind farm consent.

Light pollution guidance updated to protect drivers and astronomers

Light pollution guidance updated to protect drivers and astronomers

Revised planning guidance advises authorities to consider the "functional" nature of lighting proposals and provides protection for groups including astronomers and drivers.

Revised guidance encourages councils to focus on improving air quality

Revised guidance encourages councils to focus on improving air quality

Local authorities should seek opportunities to actively improve air quality through plan-making and development management decisions, according to updated Planning Practice Guidance (PPG).

Government confirms fracking moratorium and drops proposed easing of planning rules

Government confirms fracking moratorium and drops proposed easing of planning rules

The government has today confirmed a moratorium on fracking in England and announced that it has ditched proposals to ease planning rules for the controversial activity, including the introduction of permitted development (PD) rights for fracking exploration schemes.

Latest Environment Opinion

Is biodiversity net gain currently allowable for NSIPs? By Angus Walker

The Environment Bill was published on 15 October. It contains a provision that every (with exceptions yet to be specified) new planning permission must include a condition that development cannot begin unless a "biodiversity gain plan" has been submitted and approved.

Legal Viewpoint: Relief and despair in court ruling on scheme revisions

In 1066, King Harald Hardrada won the Battle of Fulford before being beaten by King Harold at Stamford Bridge. In 2007, planning permission was granted for up to 700 houses on the alleged site and battle resumed, this time between the developers and the local parish council.

Joining up the climate emergency dots, by Catriona Riddell

In May this year the government declared a climate change emergency which was soon followed by many local authorities across the country declaring their own climate change emergencies.

Third runway likely to break record, by Angus Walker

Heathrow Airport Ltd launched a statutory consultation on 18 June on its proposals to build a third runway and associated infrastructure. It is called "statutory" because it is required under the Planning Act 2008, which created the consenting system for nationally significant infrastructure projects, before an application can be made.

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Environment In Depth

How algae are blocking 10,000 planned homes

How algae are blocking 10,000 planned homes

It has been one year since a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on the environmental impact of nitrates from new developments threw plans for thousands of homes in England into doubt.

How we did it: Achieving biodiversity and 40% social housing

How we did it: Achieving biodiversity and 40% social housing

Oxford City Council and developer Grosvenor promise biodiversity net gain and 40 per cent social homes at Barton Park, reports Colin Marrs.

The implications of the Environment Bill's proposed requirement for two new types of mitigation plan

The implications of the Environment Bill's proposed requirement for two new types of mitigation plan

Measures in the government's new Environment Bill, including proposals for councils to produce spatial "nature recovery strategies" and for developers to prepare biodiversity net gain plans, have prompted concerns about fresh burdens on practitioners.

Why the business secretary overruled an inspector's recommendation and approved a gas-fired power plant

Why the business secretary overruled an inspector's recommendation and approved a gas-fired power plant

A minister's approval of a gas-fired power plant against an inspector's finding potentially conflicts with the government's commitment to its net zero carbon target, say some experts, who also suggest the decision illustrates the need for an overhaul of the eight-year-old energy national policy statements.