Major road scheme must not scope out effects of PM2.5 pollution, says Planning Inspectorate

Highways England has been told it cannot pick and choose which air pollutants to scope out of its environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a dual carriageway expansion in Norwich.

The Planning Inspectorate published its scoping opinion on Highways England’s proposed linking of the A47 dual carriageway between Norwich and Dereham, at the beginning of November. Under the Planning Act 2008, all nationally significant infrastructure projects must be approved by the inspectorate.

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Planning Act 2008

In force/
Current
Legislation
England, Scotland, Wales
Published
06 Apr 2016

Commentary

27/03/2015 Amending Order (SI 2015/949) published.
10/03/2016 Amending Order (SI 2016/306) published., 16/01/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/16) published, for England and Wales only.
02/11/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/1012) published.
10/11/2017 Commencement Order (No. 3) (
SI 2017/1078) published, for England only., 28/11/2018 Amending Regulations (SI 2018/1232) published.

Compliance Dates

26/11/2008 Received Royal Assent, 26/11/2008 Provisions of Parts 1 to 9 (except Section 194(2) to (5) and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7) come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 11, except Sections 206, 211(7), 224 and 225 come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 12, except Section 238, comes into force (see Section 241), 26/01/2009 Sections 194(2) to (5), 201, 202, 203 and 225 (together with related entries in Schedule 13), and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7, come into force (see Section 241)
01/03/2010 Certain Sections including Sections 15 to 20 and Sections 22 to 26 brought into force by The Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No.4 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/101)
06/04/2010 Certain provisions brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 5 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/566)
06/04/2011 Sections 14(1)(o) and 29 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2011 (SI 2011/705)
01/10/2011 Sections 14(1)(p), 30 and 153 and Schedule 6 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2011 (SI 2011/2054)
06/04/2012 Sections 192 and Schedule 8 (tree preservation orders), Section 193 (existing tree preservation orders: transitional provisions), and Section 238 and Schedule 13 (repeals relating to trees specified in the Schedule to SI 2012/601) come into force for, 28/11/2014 Section 198 (appeals relating to old mining permissions) comes into force, in relation to Wales, insofar as it is not already in force (see the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 3) (Wales) Order (
01/01/2018 Sections 14(1)(m), 14(1)(n), 27 and 28 in relation to dams, reservoirs and the transfer of water resources, enter into force for England only (see SI 2017/1078)

Characteristics

Subject

Energy/climate change General policy Land and development Sustainable development Transport Waste

Source

OPSI (Office of Public Sector Information)

Affected Sectors

Cross-sector Oil Water Electricity Gas Waste and Cleaning Construction Transport Rail Transport
ECM

Planning Act 2008

Document Status: In force/Current

Scope: England, Scotland, Wales

Commentary:

27/03/2015 Amending Order (SI 2015/949) published.
10/03/2016 Amending Order (SI 2016/306) published., 16/01/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/16) published, for England and Wales only.
02/11/2017 Amending Regulations (SI 2017/1012) published.
10/11/2017 Commencement Order (No. 3) (
SI 2017/1078) published, for England only., 28/11/2018 Amending Regulations (SI 2018/1232) published.

Compliance:

26/11/2008 Received Royal Assent, 26/11/2008 Provisions of Parts 1 to 9 (except Section 194(2) to (5) and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7) come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 11, except Sections 206, 211(7), 224 and 225 come into force (see Section 241), 26/11/2008 Part 12, except Section 238, comes into force (see Section 241), 26/01/2009 Sections 194(2) to (5), 201, 202, 203 and 225 (together with related entries in Schedule 13), and paragraph 7 of Schedule 7, come into force (see Section 241)
01/03/2010 Certain Sections including Sections 15 to 20 and Sections 22 to 26 brought into force by The Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No.4 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/101)
06/04/2010 Certain provisions brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 5 and Saving) Order 2010 (SI 2010/566)
06/04/2011 Sections 14(1)(o) and 29 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 6) Order 2011 (SI 2011/705)
01/10/2011 Sections 14(1)(p), 30 and 153 and Schedule 6 brought into force by the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 7) Order 2011 (SI 2011/2054)
06/04/2012 Sections 192 and Schedule 8 (tree preservation orders), Section 193 (existing tree preservation orders: transitional provisions), and Section 238 and Schedule 13 (repeals relating to trees specified in the Schedule to SI 2012/601) come into force for, 28/11/2014 Section 198 (appeals relating to old mining permissions) comes into force, in relation to Wales, insofar as it is not already in force (see the Planning Act 2008 (Commencement No. 3) (Wales) Order (
01/01/2018 Sections 14(1)(m), 14(1)(n), 27 and 28 in relation to dams, reservoirs and the transfer of water resources, enter into force for England only (see SI 2017/1078)

Highways England had hoped it would only need to evaluate concentrations of NOx (including NO2), PM10 and CO2 pollution as part of the scheme’s future air quality assessment. But the Planning Inspectorate said it must now assess “all relevant pollutants identified under the EU Ambient Air Quality Directive”. 

Pollution from transport can form very fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which can penetrate body organs and contribute to cardiovascular and respiratory disease. 

Where national and European air quality standards are not being achieved in a given area, a local authority must declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), which form the worst areas in the country for air quality. 

The inspectorate told Highways England it would also not be allowed to scope out the cumulative effects its project will have on the AQMAs in Swaffham and Central Norwich with other proposed highway schemes, such as the A47 Blofield to North Burlingham and Norwich Western Link projects. 

The inspectorate told Highways England that its forthcoming environmental statement will also need to include details of fish surveys where significant effects are likely to occur because the dual carriageway expansion could obstruct movements of migratory fish as a result of in-channel works, the inspectorate said. 

The European eel is one such species that could be impacted by the expansion. It is a species of principal importance under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 and critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

To view the scoping opinion in full click here

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