OEP seeks permission to intervene in Supreme Court appeal to highlight importance of clarity in environmental law

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) has filed an application with the Supreme Court for permission to intervene in the appeal of R (Finch) v Surrey County Council highlighting the importance of clarity in the law to promote good environmental decision-making. 

The appeal, which was filed yesterday (Wednesday, 8 February) concerns a judicial review of the grant of planning permission for new oil wells on a site in Surrey. The Supreme Court will consider whether Surrey County Council (SCC) acted lawfully by not requiring the development’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) to assess the impact of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the future combustion of oil produced by the new oil wells. The OEP’s intervention is prompted by this failure or alleged failure of SCC to comply with environmental law.

OEP General Counsel, Peter Ashford, said: “Environmental impact assessment is so important for integrating the environment into planning decision-making. We are interested in this case because of the opportunity to clarify the law here to ensure proper decision-making that enhances environmental protection. We hope that the Supreme Court will take this opportunity, and will develop principles for determining the proper approach to the assessment of indirect effects under the EIA legislation.”

We will now wait to hear whether the Supreme Court grants permission for the OEP to intervene.” 

Notes to Editors

1.    Full reference for case: R (Finch) v Surrey County Council [2022] EWCA Civ 187
2.    Under section 41 Environment Act 2021 the OEP must publish a statement where it applies to intervene in a case

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