R (Boggis) v Natural England

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
Judgment Date20 October 2009
Neutral Citation[2009] EWCA Civ 1061
Date20 October 2009

Court of Appeal

Before Lord Justice Mummery, Lord Justice Longmore and Lord Justice Sullivan

Regina (Boggis and Another)
and
Natural England
Notification of site does not require conservation plan

The notification of a site of special scientific interest by English Nature was not a plan or project requiring an assessment of its conservation implications on any special protection area which it might affect.

The Court of Appeal so stated in a reserved judgment allowing the appeal of the defendant, Natural England, formerly English Nature, against the decision of Mr Justice BlairTLRUNK (The Times February 25, 2009; [2009] 3 All ER 879) who had held that the notification and confirmation of a site of special scientific interest made on June 28, 2006, under section 28 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, was a plan within the meaning of article 6.3 of Council Directive 92/43/EC (OJ July 22, 1992 L206/7), the Habitat Directive.

The first claimant, Peter Charles Boggis, and the second, a group called Easton Bavents Conservation, fearful for their properties on continuingly eroding cliff tops, constructed a sacrificial sea defence between the cliffs and the sea.

Natural England claimed that the sea defence compromised the scientific value of the site by impeding access to the cliff face. Waveney District Council joined as an interested party.

Mr Gregory Jones and Mr James Neill for the claimants; Mr John Howell, QC and Ms Jane Collier for Natural England; Mr Christopher Balogh for the council.

LORD JUSTICE SULLIVAN said that a notification package under section 28 of the 1981 Act was most certainly not a plan for the purposes of article 6.3 of the Habitats Directive.

Since the notification of the site of special scientific interest did not amount to a plan or project for the purposes of 6.3, the issue of likelihood of significant effect on the special protection area did not arise.

A breach of...

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