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Energy efficiency alone insufficient for planning permission

28 November 2013

In the case of Stephen Scrivens v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2013] EWHC 3549 (Admin), the Court recognised the need, when decisions are made on planning applications, to protect the environment and the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside in a world of sustainable development.

Planning permission was refused in respect of two autarkic dwellings. The Secretary of State was held not to have erred in its application of the presumption of sustainable development in the NPPF. What amounted to sustainable development in any circumstance depended on a number of factors. The NPPF itself refers to the need to recognise the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside.

Developers should not expect that when considering applications an LPA will treat energy considerations as conclusive. Whilst very important a balance must be struck with other material considerations including good design, whether the development would be out of place and whether it would adversely affect the neighbouring community.

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