The judgment in R (London Parks and Gardens Trust) v Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has been handed down by Mr Justice Holgate. The background to the case is the planning application for the UK Holocaust Memorial in Victoria Tower Gardens next to the Palace of Westminster, which is being promoted by the Secretary of State. Exercising the powers of the Secretary of State under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, in November 2019 the Minister of State for Housing “called-in” the determination of the planning application.
The main issue in the challenge was whether the UK had properly transposed into English law the requirements of Article 9a of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive for independence and objectivity in the discharge by a “competent authority” of its duties regarding environmental impact assessment of its own projects. This issue affects decision-making by local planning authorities throughout the country, as well as the Secretary of State. On this issue, Mr Justice Holgate agreed with the Secretary of State’s submissions that the UK had properly transposed into English law the requirements of Article 9a of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.
In relation to the subsidiary issue as to whether the “handling arrangements” made for the determination of the Secretary of State’s planning application for the proposed Holocaust Memorial comply with regulation 64(2) of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations, Mr Justice Holgate held that the “handling arrangements” required amendments.
The full judgment can be found here.
Christopher Katkowski QC and Kate Olley are appearing for the Secretary of State as promoter of the project at the forthcoming public inquiry. Zack Simons is appearing at the public inquiry for the educational charity, Learning from the Righteous.