Habitats Directive puts onus on applicants to prove no risk

Insufficient information on the potential effects of a proposed wind farm on red kites justified the secretary of state’s decision to deny planning permission, the high court has ruled

Richard Macrory, professor of environmental law, University College LondonDealing with uncertainties is an inherent challenge in complex assessments of environmental risks. A recent High Court decision has provided a valuable summary of the legal principles concerning assessment under the EU Habitats Directive.

The court has also stressed the extent to which the burden is on developers to provide information to the decision-making?authorities if they want to avoid an adverse decision, despite the difficulties of doing so where there are large gaps in scientific knowledge.

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