Court dismisses nitrogen challenge to release of green belt land

The High Court has rejected a challenge against proposed green belt developments that claimed the local authority had failed to properly consider the impact of additional nitrogen pollution on a special protected area (SPA).

Considering a challenge against Guildford Borough Council and the housing secretary, Judge Sir Duncan Ouseley dismissed the argument that plans to open up green belt land to construct 14,000 new houses were unlawful because they would inevitably add to an already excessive level of nitrogen oxides and nitrogen load at a nearby SPA.

The claimants, comprising two parish councils and a local individual, had argued that the development “was bound to have an adverse effect on the integrity of the SPA”, the judge summarised, because the SPA was already experiencing excessive nitrogen pollution. 

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