Home > News > The Court of Appeal announces its decision in R (Richards) v Environment Agency

The Court of Appeal has today announced its decision on the Environment Agency’s appeal and the Claimant’s cross-appeal from the judgment and order of Fordham J in R (Richards) v Environment Agency [2021] EWHC 2501 (Admin).

The claim concerned the positive obligations arising under Articles 2 and 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights in the regulation and control of hydrogen sulphide emissions from a landfill site in Staffordshire. The Claimant is a young child who suffers from a chronic and serious respiratory condition. He lives with his mother in the local community which surrounds the landfill site.

At an expedited hearing in August 2021, Fordham J heard evidence that the Claimant’s life expectancy was at real risk of being reduced through prolonged exposure to elevated levels of hydrogen sulphide from the landfill operation. The Judge made a declaration whose effect was to specify both levels and target dates for reduced emissions which the Environment Agency must achieve, in order legally to fulfil its operational duties as regulator arising under Articles 2 and 8 ECHR. The Court of Appeal has allowed the Agency’s appeal against the Judge’s decision and set aside the declaration with immediate effect. The Court of Appeal has also decided to dismiss the Claimant’s cross appeal.

The Court of Appeal will give its reasons at a later date.

Timothy Mould QC and Jacqueline Lean acted for the Environment Agency before Fordham J and in the Court of Appeal.

Coverage of the case can be found here.


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