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Combe Haven Defenders protest planning permission for the Queensway Gateway road (photo: CHD).

Combe Haven Defenders protest against the go-ahead for the Queensway Gateway road (photo: CHD).

Court challenge to QGR over air pollution fails

Local activist Gabriel Carlyle this week sought to have the planning permission for Sea Change Sussex’s Queensway Gateway road overturned on air pollution grounds, but the High Court refused to accept his case. Nick Terdre reports.

Gabriel Carlyle was hoping to emulate the environmental law firm Client Earth, which last week won a High Court ruling that the government’s plan for tackling illegally high levels of air pollution in the UK was inadequate, not least for having used an over-optimistic model for predicting future pollution.

Last year Mr Carlyle succeeded in having the original planning permission for the Queensway Gateway road (QGR) overturned on air pollution grounds. This time his lawyers argued that over-optimistic modelling was also behind the new estimates of air pollution in Sea Change Sussex’s revised application, which was approved in  December 2015. In the opinion of the judge, however, the modelling procedure was not comparable with that in the Client Earth case, and he turned down the application for a further judicial review.

Combe Haven Defenders, a leading opponent of the QGR, continues to monitor pollution levels alongside the QGR route in Hollington Valley – the readings collected over three months have consistently been well above the critical level, according to spokesperson Andrea Needham. Hastings Borough Council has refused to accept CHD’s findings as valid but has told the group it will set up a monitoring system alongside CHD’s and collect its own data.

40,000 deaths a year

Over the UK as a whole, illegally high levels of air pollution are causing some 40,000 deaths a year, according to the Royal College of Physicians. In April 2015, Client Earth won a Supreme Court ruling against the government which ordered ministers to come up with a plan to bring air pollution down within legal limits as soon as possible.

In last week’s case the High Court decided that Defra’s – the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – new air quality plan failed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling and relevant EU directives. The decision prompted widespread criticism of government policy in Parliament from Tory and Labour MPs alike.

This weekend Mr Carlyle will be describing efforts to combat air pollution resulting from the QGR at a conference organised by the Network for Clean Air, a national organisation campaigning against air pollution.

Posted 11:43 Friday, Nov 11, 2016 In: Campaigns

1 Comment


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  1. Ms. doubtfire

    The arrogance of this council continues unabated….why don’t they consider the CHD’s figures on pollution? Why do they only want to hear what they want to hear…disgusting. And putting everyone in the area at risk. There is no hope for this town so long as the current administration remains in power. Democracy and transparency? Really – not many would agree with this.

    Comment by Ms. doubtfire — Sunday, Nov 13, 2016 @ 21:02

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