Planning and environmental

Review of consents for major energy infrastructure projects and special project areas - Law Society response

The proposals

When a new internationally designated conservation site (such as a special protection area) is designated or updated, the competent authority – the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – must review decisions made regarding consents, permissions or other authorisations for all relevant plans or projects that are likely to have a significant effect on that site.

BEIS is seeking views on a draft screening of likely significant effects report, which assesses the likely significant effect of these consents upon relevant special protection areas.

Our view

It's important that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgment in People Over Wind and Sweetman v Coillte Teoranta (C-323/17) and other relevant case law is taken into account in regard to screening decisions and appropriate assessments.

As the end of the transition period for leaving the EU approaches, we would welcome further clarity as to whether any/all of the proposed appropriate assessments, competent authority decisions etc. will be completed and made before 31 December 2020.

The consultation is silent on post-transition measures.

We would welcome clarification on proposed next steps and timescales, including any likely future consultations.

Next steps

This consultation closed on 9 October.

Read the consultation on the GOV.UK website

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