Planning decisions and expert advice

Planning applications often raise environmental issues of a complex technical nature. The overlap between the duties of planning authorities and specialised agencies such as the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive is a difficult area of law, with the courts generally taking the line that the former should not attempt to duplicate the latter's functions. Planning regulations also require planning authorities to consult specific bodies for certain types of application. A recent High Court decision confirms that planning authorities are entitled to rely on such advice - but also holds that they must ensure that the specialised bodies properly address questions raised by objectors.

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