Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Angus Evers - COVID-19: How has environmental and planning regulation adapted?

IES Forum Legal Environmental Challenges
Shoosmiths LLP

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Angus Evers - COVID-19: How has environmental and planning regulation adapted?

  1. 1. COVID-19: HOW HAS ENVIRONMENTAL AND PLANNING REGULATION ADAPTED? Angus Evers Partner, Head of Environment, Shoosmiths LLP IES Forum, 2 June 2020
  2. 2. AGENDA • What aspects of environmental regulation have been relaxed? • How has the planning system adapted? • How has the legal system adapted? • Civil courts • Criminal courts • What’s happening with the Environment Bill?
  3. 3. RELAXATIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION • Temporary suspension of single use carrier bag charges for online grocery home delivery services: • Single Use Carrier Bags Charges (England) (Amendment) Order 2020/324 • Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020/414 • Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020/118 • Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020/56 • Aim of regulations is to incentivise use of SUCBs instead of re-useable crates
  4. 4. RELAXATIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION (ENGLAND) • Use of Regulatory Position Statements by Environment Agency: • 18 RPSs covering: • Agriculture (1) • Monitoring and reporting (2) • Radioactive substances regulation (2) • Regulated industry installations (non-waste) (2) • Waste management (excluding radioactive waste) (9) • Water industry (2) • Check conditions carefully, e.g. expiry dates, need to obtain EA agreement to use • Legal status: • Not a permit variation • Don’t amend legislation • EA “will not normally take enforcement action” if conditions complied with, no pollution / harm to human health and operator takes “all reasonable steps” to comply with permit • Natural England: natural-englands-development-management-advice-and-wildlife-licensing/ • No removal of licence requirements, only postponement
  5. 5. RELAXATIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION (WALES, SCOTLAND, NI) • Natural Resources Wales: “proportionate and reasonable approach” - us/news-and-events/statements/our-response-to-the- coronavirus-pandemic/?lang=en • SEPA: mix of guidance and temporary regulatory positions; “proportionate and reasonable approach” - • DAERANI/NIEA: 11 Regulatory Position Statements - nieas-regulatory-response-covid-19 • “will not take regulatory and/or enforcement action” if RPS adhered to • Temporary variation of permit conditions for authorised waste facilities
  6. 6. HOW HAS THE PLANNING SYSTEM ADAPTED? • Issues: • Applications • Committees • Appeals • Legal proceedings
  7. 7. HOW THE PLANNING SYSTEM HAS ADAPTED - APPLICATIONS • Pre-application stage: • Face to face meetings? • Site visits – are they lawful? Reg 6(f) Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020: allowed to leave home “to travel for the purposes of work […] where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living” • In reality depends on local planning authority/individual • Increased reliance on Google Maps and pictures included with applications • Making an application: • Most procedures unaffected by lockdown (eg. online submission, storage of and access to documents, notification/consultation by email/post) • Site notices: • Not always required – eg. if no EIA, application accords with development plan and no PROW affected • LPA officers can also post site notices: Reg 6 Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 • In reality – many LPAs are currently asking applicants to post them, and to provide evidence that they’ve been posted
  8. 8. HOW THE PLANNING SYSTEM HAS ADAPTED - COMMITTEES • Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020/392: • In force from 4 April 2020 and apply to meetings held before 7 May 2021 • Not compulsory – local planning authorities can choose to use them, but don’t have to use them • Committee members can attend meetings remotely • Public/press can attend meetings remotely • Meetings are “open to the public” if held virtually • Documents are “available for inspection” if published on the authority’s website • Regulations override “any prohibition or other restriction contained in the standing orders or any other rules of the authority”
  9. 9. HOW THE PLANNING SYSTEM HAS ADAPTED - APPEALS • PINS not holding any physical inquiries or hearings, but “seeking to run inquiries and hearings in a virtual manner where possible” • First virtual hearing held on 11 May 2020, with “at least 10 hearings” to be held virtually in June • All appeals must be submitted online • Site visits “where it is safe to do so” • Check PINS guidance regularly: inspectorate-guidance
  10. 10. HOW THE LEGAL SYSTEM HAS ADAPTED • Check HMCTS guidance: tribunals-planning-and-preparation • Focus on essential cases only, increased use of telephone / videocon hearings • Judgments from pre-lockdown hearings are still being issued, eg: • Pigot v Environment Agency [2020] EWHC 930 (Ch) • Mustafa v Environment Agency [2020] EWCA Crim 597 • Issues for Planning Court challenges: • Proceedings must be physically issued in Court (this includes by post, so long as papers arrive in time) and served • Some proceedings must be served before issue (eg. s.289 Town and Country Planning Act 1990) • May issue in London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, or Manchester • Issues for criminal cases (and enforcement generally): • No jury trials • No interviews under caution in environmental and planning enforcement cases
  11. 11. WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE ENVIRONMENT BILL? • Second reading in House of Commons on 26 February 2020 • 7 Public Bill Committee sessions from 10-19 March 2020; Committee then adjourned • Committee scheduled to report by 25 June 2020 • Bill then has third reading in House of Commons before moving to House of Lords • Royal Assent in autumn 2020?