The decision comes months after the end to the legal battle over the legality of the plant when the Secretary of State gave Quinn retrospective planning approval in November 2009, after the local authority approved its application the month before. (see MRW story)
The case concerning the local authority’s powers to grant planning approval for the Quinn Glass plant was brought against Chester West and Cheshire Council in February 2009 when Ardagh raised issues about the validity of the Environmental Impact Assessment, which was carried out after the plant was built. Ardagh claimed it was not valid because it should have been done before building the plant and so, could not be used to grant planning permission.
On behalf of Ardagh, Robert McCracken QC argued that European law prevented a grant of retrospective planning permission for any development, which required an environmental impact assessment. He argued that where development had been carried out without compliance with the European EIA Directive the only course was to knock down the development and start again.
Giving judgement, Lord Justice Sullivan said the argument was an affront to common sense. According to a statement from Quinn, the Presiding Judge, Lord Justice Jacob added that the suggestion that it would be always necessary to undo a development whatever anyone thought of it was so absurd that it could not be European Community Law.
Quinn Glass Director Adrian Curry said: “The Court of Appeal reinforced what we always believed. “The legal costs over the years are not insignificant but from our point of view we had to see it through as we had spent £325M on the plant and we have 700 employees. Going forward, we still have some spare capacity at the Elton plant, which we hope to use for the producing and filling process.”
Ardagh Glass declined to comment.