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Adams Hendry Planning & Built Environment News Round-Up - 21st August 2018

The Adams Hendry News Round-Up highlights recent news and commentary relating to planning and the built environment.


This week’s round up includes news of the Government’s new garden communities programme, a rise in the number of ‘live’ DCO applications, and photos of archaeological sites revealed by the recent heatwave.


Bidding opens for garden community development support (The Planner – Requires Log-in)

“Housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire has announced a new programme of garden communities, inviting garden town and village developers to bid for additional government support for projects.

He said the programme aims to enable more high-quality homes to be built and green spaces created. It expands on government plans for more locally led developments.

The government sees new settlements as part of the solution to the housing crisis and its ambitious plans to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

The programme allows councils across England and private developers that have secured support from local authorities to apply for a place on the programme.”

Flurry of DCO applications ends drought (Bircham Dyson Bell)

“Today’s entry reports on the recent increase in applications for Development Consent Orders.

A year ago, there were only four ‘live’ applications for Development Consent Orders (DCOs) – ie ones that were at any stage between an application being submitted and a decision being made.

Commentators, me included, wondered if this was a permanent slow-down in nationally significant infrastructure projects and what the reasons might be. Others said it was a temporary blip and to keep the faith.

The faith-keepers were right (so far). The number of live applications has risen to 17, back up to the heady heights of July 2016.”

What Is Mitigation? (Simonicity)

If you are asking this in the context of People Over Wind (EU Court of Justice, 12 April 2018), you are asking the wrong question. Whilst the reference to “mitigation” is useful shorthand (as in my 20 April 2018 blog post, EU Court Ruling: Ignore Mitigation Measures In Habitats Screening), the precise position is more complicated and, despite a helpful judgment of the High Court this week, not easy to resolve in a practical way.

The People Over Wind ruling can be summarised very briefly by paraphrasing its final paragraph: In order for a competent authority to determine whether it is necessary to carry out an appropriate assessment of the implications, for a site protected under the Habitats Directive or Birds Directive, of a plan or project, it is not appropriate, at the screening stage, to take account of the measures intended to avoid or reduce the harmful effects of the plan or project on that site. 

In that case the measures which the court held could not be taken into account were requirements to be contained in a construction management plan to “provide details of intended construction practice for the development, including … (k) means to ensure that surface water run-off is controlled such that no silt or other pollutants enter watercourses …’.”

In referring the case to the EU Court of Justice, the Irish High Court had referred to the requirements as “mitigating measures“. The promoter of the scheme which was under challenge had described them as “protective measures“, but the EU Court of Justice disregarded the distinction 

The court’s position was clear: “full and precise analysis of the measures capable of avoiding or reducing any significant effects on the site concerned must be carried out not at the screening stage, but specifically at the stage of the appropriate assessment.”

So the big question is whether there are any measures which can be taken into account at the screening stage which are not caught as avoidance or reduction measures…”


RTPI: England lacks coherent plan to improve air quality (RTPI)

“England is falling behind Scotland in improving air quality with no coherent strategy to integrate land use planning with transport planning, the RTPI says.

In its response to the Government’s Clean Air Strategy consultation, the RTPI criticises the recently published National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for missing the opportunity to tighten the need for local authorities to make transport decisions that support sustainable patterns of settlement growth.

With the NPPF’s emphasis on meet housing numbers, developments are likely to be created in remote locations where land is cheaper, but the lack of an integrated approach to transport and land use planning means that many will not be supported by the infrastructure needed for sustainable modes of travel, it says.

The Institute believes that the Scottish Government’s strategy for cleaner air is much clearer on the role that planning can play in shaping sustainable settlement patterns and promoting a shift away from the car towards public and active transport.”


Costain wins contract for “Wi-Fi” road in Kent (Construction Enquirer)

“Costain has been awarded a technology contract to design and install one of the UK’s first pilot connected vehicle corridors on a live road.

Costain will be working for Highways England in collaboration with the Department for Transport, Transport for London and Kent County Council.

The A2M2 connected corridor will see Costain deliver roadside technology which allows vehicles and infrastructure to connect wirelessly.

It means drivers can receive on-board warnings about things like road closures, congestion and speed limits.

Trial vehicles will be fitted with onboard technology that will communicate with roadside units via ITS G5 wireless communication and with the service provider via cellular communication.

This will convey information to the vehicle relating to road works, road conditions, temporary speed limits and the time remaining before a traffic light turns to green.

This information could then be used by the vehicle to vary speed, for example.”

UK archaeology sites made visible in heatwave – pictures (The Guardian)

Scorching summer reveals hidden sites, including neolithic monuments…”


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Suzanne Pidgeon, Technical Director 01962 877414 | s.pidgeon@adamshendry.co.uk