Thursday, 9 July 2015

What would be 'exceptional circumstances'?

The NPPF makes it clear that:
Great weight should be given to conserving landscape and scenic beauty in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty. 115 Planning permission should be refused for major developments in these designated areas except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated they are in the public interest. 116
Last week, the North York Moors Park Authority backed plans for a "£1.7bn potash mine after locals were wooed with promises of more than 1,000 jobs". The Chief Executive of the NYMNPA said:
I appreciate that there will be many disappointed by today's decision but Members felt that the long term benefits for the local, regional and national economy were transformational. This truly exceptional nature plus the measures proposed by the company to mitigate harm and deliver widespread environmental benefits to the Park over a long period of time tipped the balance in favour of approval.
Whatever your view on the mine, compare and contrast it with the truly unexceptional nature of AI’s application to process material at Blackhill, in an AONB.

Blackhill is also bordered by an SPA, an EU designated Special Protection Area, through which AI's 44-tonne HGVs would have to travel.

Kent County Council recently permitted the importation and deposition of clay, chalk, sand and gravel from tunnelling projects in the London area to a former clay workings, part of which is designated an SPA.

The application 'would benefit the breeding and over wintering bird population', 'would assist in meeting the conservation aspirations of the SPA' and 'the need to transport materials by road was avoided and this was consistent with the principles of sustainable development'.

Again, compare and contrast this with AI’s Blackhill application, the potential to harm the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths SPA, the unsustainable million mile HGV haulage scheme, and the benefit to no-one but a Swiss multinational.