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Greater Crested Newts Hold Sway in Crematoria Planning Dispute

Wildlife preservation is a vital factor in many planning decisions and, in one such case, greater crested newts had a central part to play after developers put forward rival proposals for crematoria in an area which only had a need for one.

Planning consent for the two proposals had been sought almost simultaneously by a company and a consortium of local authorities. The race was won by the consortium after the company’s application was delayed by a reference to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, who ultimately decided not to ‘call in’ the proposal for his own consideration.

The company challenged the consortium’s permission and the High Court accepted that, due to an error in a planning officer’s report, decision makers had been significantly misled in respect of the potential of the consortium’s site as a habitat for the protected amphibians. The planning consent was therefore quashed and the relevant local authority was directed to reconsider the matter.