The campaign group BARD (“Better Accessible Responsible Development”) has lost its case against the Government ‘s consultation on eco-towns. BARD relied on six grounds of challenge but focused on two main areas, whether the consultation process was legally adequate, and the absence of a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) at the consultation stage. Lord Justice Walker, who stressed that the project was “at a relatively early stage” and that there would be future opportunities for consultation, rejected the challenge on all grounds.  

Housing and planning Minister Margaret Beckett welcomed the decision. The decision leaves clear the opportunity for a decision on the final eco-town location shortlist in the coming months.