Transitional projects and the environmental assessment Directive

The 1985 EEC Directive on environmental assessment of major projects does not apply to motorway schemes which were in the pipeline before the Directive came into force in July 1988 but had not yet been approved by then, according to a recent High Court decision. The ruling applies by implication to other types of project falling within the Directive's scope, and also raises several other significant points which underlie the difficulties facing those wishing to raise questions of community environmental law before British courts.

Twyford Parish Council and Others v Secretary of State for the Environment and Secretary of State for Transport (High Court, 26 October 1990) concerned part of the M3 motorway proposed to bypass Winchester. The project had a complex and controversial history, with the latest scheme being considered at a public inquiry in 1985, followed by a further inquiry two years later into an amended scheme for one section. Objectors proposed an altern

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