Lafarge Redland Aggregates Ltd v Scottish Ministers

JurisdictionScotland
CourtCourt of Session (Outer House)
Judgment Date18 October 2000
Docket NumberNo 17

OUTER HOUSE

Lord Hardie

No 17
LAFARGE REDLAND AGGREGATES LTD
and
SCOTTISH MINISTERS

Administrative law—Judicial review—Town and country planning—Failure to determine application for seven years—Whether legitimate expectation of determination within a reasonable time—Decision to refer to Scottish Natural Heritage—Whether ultra vires—Whether procedural impropriety—Whether irrational—Whether delay constituted breach of Convention rights—European Convention on Human Rights, art 6(1)1

Town and country planning—Planning permission—Development of quarry—Failure to determine application for seven years—Referral to Scottish Natural Heritage—Whether ultra vires

On 25 March 1991 the petitioners submitted to the Western Isles Council an application for planning permission for the development of a “superquarry” at Lingerbay, Isle of Harris. On 24 June 1993 the Council informed the Secretary of State for Scotland that they were minded to grant planning permission to the petitioners. Scottish Natural Heritage (“SNH”) recommended to the Secretary of State for Scotland that the application be called in for determination by him. On 6 January 1994 the Secretary of State for Scotland informed the Council that he had decided that the application should be referred to him for determination. Between 11 October 1994 and 6 June 1995 a public local inquiry was held before a reporter. SNH was the principal objector at the inquiry. The grant of planning permission was also opposed by the Link Quarry Group, which led evidence from two persons who later became members of the Main Board of SNH with their terms of office expiring in 2002 and 2003. In about March 1998 Part 1 of the Report of the Inquiry was circulated in draft. On 29 April 1999 the final version of the Report was delivered to the Secretary of State. On 1 July 1999 the respondents assumed the responsibility to determine the application. On 12 July 2000 the respondents decided to refer to SNH the question of whether any part of the application site should be proposed as a candidate Special Area of Conservation in terms of Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora. The petitioners presented a petition for judicial review of the respondents' failure to determine the application for planning permission, and of their decision to refer to SNH the question of whether any part of the application site should be proposed as a candidate Special Area of...

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