It is easier for interest groups to seek judicial review of planning and environmental decisions following the
clarification by the Supreme Court. As Lord Hope eloquently explained:
Has this and other changes influenced the frequency of planning judicial reviews, and the outcomes?
This Report analyses planning judicial reviews in Scotland in the last 5 years. It compares the findings with our
2013 Report, which covered a longer period (10 years). Although direct numerical comparison is not therefore
possible, comparative analysis has been undertaken using percentages and by doubling the number of cases in
the 5 year period.
“Take, for example, the risk that a route used by an osprey as it moves to and from a favourite
fishing loch will be impeded by the proposed erection across it of a cluster of wind turbines. Does
the fact that this proposal cannot reasonably be said to affect any individual’s property rights or
interests mean that it is not open to an individual to challenge the proposed development on
this ground? That would seem to be contrary to the purpose of environmental law, which
proceeds on the basis that the quality of the natural environment is of legitimate concern to
everyone. The osprey has no means of taking that step on its own behalf, any more than any
other wild creature. If its interests are to be protected someone has to be allowed to speak up
on its behalf.”
Lord Hope – Walton v Scottish Ministers 2012
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