Supreme Court rules on Green Belt Openness

A recent Supreme Court ruling over a planning application in Yorkshire affects the way that all planning authorities handle applications which are in the Green Belt. One of the points that had often been given was the visual impact of the application, and the ruling by Lord Carnwath JSC clarifies what importance should be made for this whilst considering an application, and in doing so confirmed the actions of the original planning officer in the case.

This was a second planning application for an extension to a magnesian limestone quarry, an earlier application was made in 2009, and then quashed on environmental impact grounds in 2013. A second planning application was granted in 2016, and challenged in the courts, after decisions favouring first one party and then the other in the High Court and Court of Appeal, the matter came before the High Court in January 2020.

His Lordship noted that the primary purpose of land being given Green Belt status was to prevent urban sprawl and prevent the openness of countryside being lost. There is no need to consider the visual quality. Indeed, the National Planning Policy Framework itself notes that mineral extraction needed to be undertaken where the minerals are found. Also, both the Framework and his Lordship noted that mineral extraction is something to an extent temporary and afterwards the land suitably landscaped can be returned to countryside.

This recent ruling has relevance for all applications in the current Green Belt, where the effect on Openness is to be assessed. ET Planning handles cases which are affected by the Green Belt and examples of these can be viewed in the; “our work” section of our website or this link.

If you have any queries regarding your own planning application or appeal located within the Green Belt, please do not hesitate to contact us.