Inner House case in which the Cairngorms Campaign and others applied to the court for reduction of a decision by the Cairngorm National Park Authority to adopt the Cairngorm’s National Park Local Plan. In particular they complained about the adoption of development policies in the Local Plan which made provision for developments at Nethy Bridge (40 dwelling houses and business units), Carrbridge (up to 117 dwelling houses), An Camas Mòr (1,500 dwelling houses) and Kingussie (300 dwelling houses).  

In the Outer House Lord Glennie rejected the campaigner’s arguments finding that, in adopting the Local Plan, the Park Authority had neither acted unlawfully or illegally (in the Wednesbury sense – i.e. it had not reached a decision that no reasonable person in that position properly informed of the facts could have reached) nor had it failed to give adequate reasons for its decision, the reasons given for the decision being clear. In coming to his decision, Lord Glennie also rejected a number of more specific arguments made by the campaigners.

The campaigners argued that Lord Glennie had erred in law by failing to appreciate what was necessary in terms of the “appropriate assessment” required under the Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 1994 (implementing Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC) when assessing the implications of the Local Plan on the Park’s conservation objectives. They contended that a far more detailed assessment should have been made at the point the Local Plan was approved.

This argument was rejected by the Inner House which agreed with the decision of Lord Glennie. Although referred to as an appeal, it was appropriate to consider the campaigners’ action on judicial review grounds. Taking that approach, the Park Authority’s appropriate assessment could not be said to be one which no reasonable authority would have produced in the circumstances. It was, therefore, open to the Authority to adopt a Local Plan which relied on that assessment.

The full judgement is available from Scottish Courts here.