One of our members raised an interesting question at our AGM, as to whether if the UK voted for a Brexit (which as we now know it subsequently did the following day) the status of the Ashdown Forest, and hence the need to designate East Court/Ashplats Wood as a SANGS, would be changed. At the time of the meeting the Chairman said that this was probably an impossible question to answer at that time.
Interestingly, an on-line opinion from Martin Goodall, a well-respected planning solicitor, addressed this issue a few days later. In his blog* he said
“I pointed out in an article a few months ago (Planning Law – the European dimension posted on Monday 7 March) that European law has only a marginal effect on our domestic planning laws, and is mainly focused on environmental issues. The environmental protection that this legislation gives to endangered species and their natural habitats is designed precisely in order to ensure that an appropriate level of environmental protection (especially for vulnerable species and their habitats) is maintained when considering development proposals. Our current subordinate legislation was drafted in compliance with the relevant European directives on these matters, but it is in any event based on sound and sensible principles, and I see no reason why we should wish to depart from those principles, whether or not the UK is a member of the EU. There is therefore no reason to repeal or amend the various statutory instruments that govern these matters, such as the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment)Regulations 2011 among others that are designed to ensure the appropriate protection of environmental interests.”
So, his prediction is that Brexit is unlikely to affect our SANGS designation. Of course. nothing is certain though with so many leaves up in the air at once. We will be monitoring the position as EU exit negotiations proceed.
* You can read the full blog at http://planninglawblog.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/planning-law-after-brexit.html