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Developer loses Court of Appeal battle over decision by planning inspector on air quality

The Court of Appeal has rejected a developer’s challenge to a planning inspector's decision on air quality.

Gladman Developments appealed against the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government after a planning inspector rejected a non-determination appeal over two applications made to Swale Borough Council.

The Kent branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England was an interested party.

Appeal judges were asked to decide whether the inspector failed to deal lawfully with the likely effects of the proposed housing development on air quality.

Gladman Developments applied to build 390 and 200 homes in separate applications on farmland at Newington, which were not allocated for development in Swale’s local plan.

It appealed to the inspector over Swale’s non-determination of the applications and succeeded on eight of the 10 grounds argued.

Gladman failed though on the effect of its proposals on the landscape character and form of Newington and on proposed air quality mitigation measures.

The company appealed but Supperstone J rejected it case in the High Court.

It argued in the Court of Appeal that Supperstone J’s conclusions were contrary to the European Union Air Quality Directive and that he was wrong to hold that the inspector could not reach a view on the likely effectiveness of measures to improve air quality in the national air quality plan.

Other grounds included that the inspector was wrong in his approach to the mitigation measures and that it had been unfair not to give Gladman an opportunity to overcome the shortcomings identified in its proposed mitigation.

Appeal judges agreed with Lindblom LJ that all grounds of appeal should be dismissed.

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