Incinerator tests overlap of planning and pollution controls

The precise relationship between planning and pollution control, and the problems of potential duplication of controls, have long been a difficult issue in British environmental law. Where the controls are handled by different authorities, as is increasingly the case in fields such as waste management, the room for legal dispute is all the greater. This is particularly so where a proposal raises local controversy, since members of the public are likely to feel that their concerns will be handled more sympathetically by locally elected authorities than a specialised body such as the Environment Agency. A recent High Court decision concerning a proposed municipal waste incinerator provides a clear example of the difficulties that can arise, and the judgement provides important guidance on the issue.

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