- seeking justice
Requests for EIA
It seems that there never was a formal decision as to whether the Glebelands development should be subject to Environmental Impact Assessment prior to granting planning permission. Despite several opportunities, Newport council has, thus far, failed to ensure that the Glebelands development was subject to the EIA process, as required by the EIA Directive and UK law.
There is certainly no record of any such decision, even though Newport council's own Planning Services department requested that there should be. Prior to granting outline planning permission in October 2000, a memorandum dated 11th August 2000 from Newport council’s Planning Services department to the Council’s Development Control department stated:
“ . . . We therefore request that a formal determination is made as to whether or not an EIA is required, and this decision recorded in the requisite manner.”.
It seems clear that Newport council's Planning Services recognised the importance of a formal determination as to whether EIA is needed for the development (the 'EIA screening exercise'), and that the resulting decision should be formally recorded. The Planning Services department was probably aware that a proper EIA screening exercise for the proposed development would have determined that EIA is needed.
Even after outline planning permission was granted in October 2000, local residents were continuing to call for an EIA. An example of such a request is recorded in Mr J Martin’s letter of 3rd December 2003 to Newport council’s Head of Planning and Economic Regeneration, stating:
“There is a need for the council to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment and inform the residents of the outcome to allay their fears about the extra traffic, pollution, dirt, dust, and noise the plan will have on their lives . . . . “.
As well as local residents and environmental groups being deeply concerned by the lack of a detailed risk assessment being required for this project (‘Parents voice landfill school worries’), at least one representative of the Planning Division at the Welsh Assembly appears to have assumed that the Glebelands development would be subject to Environmental Impact Assessment. In a letter to the Glebelands Action Group, dated 5th October 2001 a representative of the Assembly’s Planning Division wrote:
“The main responsibility lies with the local planning authority to ensure that the planning process and the Environmental Impact Assessment fully take the nature of the site and its proposed use into account.”
There remains continued interest in ensuring that an environmental impact assessment is undertaken for this development.
In a letter dated 26th August 2009 to Jane Davidson AM, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, Jocelyn Davies AM (South Wales East) wrote:
“I have received a copy of a communication . . . from a constituent regarding the Glebelands development in Newport. I have been involved in this case since at least 2001 and have an ongoing interest. The points raised in the letter seem valid and I wonder if I could ask you to ensure that an appropriate environmental impact assessment has been or will be undertaken.”