Polytunnels Not Environmental Issue

Posted: 14th February 2011

Field28A farmer who wished to set up more than 50 hectares of polytunnels on his farm found his wishes opposed by environmental group Natural England in a case which went to the Court of Appeal.
The farmer’s local council decided that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was not required in order to grant planning permission. Natural England originally objected on the grounds that the farm was situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Although that objection was later withdrawn, the planning application was still objected to on the ground that the development was a project which was to use ‘uncultivated land or semi-natural areas for intensive agricultural purposes’ and was supported by the Wye Valley Action Association.
The Court of Appeal was robust in its rejection of the objection, concluding that the council’s decision that an EIA was not necessary was not irrational and had given appropriate consideration to the environmental information supplied.
This case will bring happiness to the farming community and sadness to environmentalists who oppose agricultural development which changes the landscape, who see it is opening the floodgates to having widespread ‘plasticisation’ of the countryside.