In conceding, the Secretary of State accepted that as the expert statutory regulator of nuclear installations under the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations 2019 (“REPPIR 2019”), the ONR was in the same position as other expert regulators (e.g. Natural England in respect of Habitats Regulations). Accordingly, the advice and opinions of ONR should be given considerable weight unless there is good reason not to, and cogent reasons must be provided if the decision-maker chooses to depart from ONR’s opinion. It follows that in the future, any development within the DEPZ for a nuclear installation will need to give proper consideration to the views which ONR have expressed in relation to land use planning within the relevant area. The ONR's submissions in the case also included submissions on how NPPF policy and the precautionary principle apply to development near nuclear installations.
Richard Honey KC and Michael Fry acted for ONR in the litigation, instructed by the Government Legal Department. Michael Fry acted for ONR in the underlying planning appeal. Mark Westmoreland Smith advised the Secretary of State.