Court Rules Website Only Consultation Insufficient to Meet SEA Directive

Outlaw

[consultation on a] sustainability appraisal, had breached a European Union directive that sought to ensure the members of the public were aware of the likely environmental effects of developments. In these consultations, the Council had contacted certain members of the public directly, but had only advertised the consultation to the general public on its own website.

Mr Justice Lindblom said that, in relying on its website alone “as the sole means by which it invited the general public to comment on the draft plan and its sustainability appraisal but also as the sole means by which it made known to them that this is what it was doing”, the Council had failed effectively to notify the public in accordance with the directive.

The judge decided, however, that it would not be “reasonable or proportionate” to make an order quashing policies in the SAP or remitting them to the Council and directing further consultation.

Mr Justice Lindblom said that, while the Council had consulted the public “in a less than wholly effective way” in relation to the sustainability appraisal, it had produced a legally valid environmental report “in a timely manner” and had acted “in good faith”.,,

To strike down an adopted plan, whether in whole or in part, is always a draconian step for the court to take,” concluded Mr Justice Lindblom. “To do that here would be disproportionate and wrong.”

One thought on “Court Rules Website Only Consultation Insufficient to Meet SEA Directive

  1. The ongoing demise of local newspapers, means that these are a far less effective consultation vehicle these days. Social media might work with certain section of the community, but by no means all.
    Other than an extremely expensive and probably ineffective mass mailing to every household, including the offer of a hard copy posted out to every one requesting one, what does constitute an effective consultation these days?

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