Fracking planning guidance unlawful


Re: Stephenson v Secretary of State for Housing And Communities And Local Government [2019] EWHC 519 (Admin)

The claimant brought an application for judicial review against the adoption by the defendant Secretary of State of part of planning guidance for local authorities, which required them to proceed on the basis that fracking is beneficial in terms of supporting the transition to a low carbon economy.

Held: inter alia, the defendant unlawfully failed to take into account material considerations, namely new scientific and technical evidence which contradicted materials it had previously relied on. The material from Talk Fracking, and in particular their scientific evidence as described in their consultation response, was never in fact considered relevant or taken into account. It clearly was obviously material on the basis that it was capable of having a direct bearing upon a key element of the evidence base for the proposed policy and its relationship to climate change effects. Having embarked on what looked like an open-minded consultation the defendant had acted unlawfully in not taking into account consultee responses.

David Wolfe QC was involved in this case.