Frequently asked questions

View this section for answers to our most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the Planning Act 2008 process. Use the links below to jump to the relevant section or search to find the answer you are looking for.

The Planning Act 2008, Section 53: Rights of entry – FAQs Compilation of advice issued to applicants (and others) relating to authorisations for rights of entry to land to carry out surveys and take levels.

The Planning Act 2008, Section 47: Community consultation – FAQs Compilation of advice issued to local communities about the Pre-application procedure and community consultation.

The Planning Act 2008: Scoping process – FAQs Compilation of advice about the Environmental Impact Assessment scoping process, undertaken by the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Jump to section:

General questions
Pre-application – Information for local authorities, Statutory Consultees and the public
Pre-application – Information for potential applicants
Acceptance
Pre-examination
Examination
Recommendation and Decision
Post-decision

 

General questions

 
FAQ1Where should I apply for consent for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP)? Applications for NSIPs must be submitted to
the Planning Inspectorate.
FAQ2What are the main differences between the Planning Act 2008 process in England and Wales?The differences are complex and reflect the agreed devolution powers.

The Planning Inspectorate is a cross-border body working both in England and in Wales, with a number of Welsh Inspectors and Welsh-speaking staff.

In Wales there are fewer types of project that the Planning Inspectorate has jurisdiction over as compared to England.

Further information can be found in section 14 of the Planning Act 2008.
FAQ3How do you handle information under your openness policy?The fundamental values of the Planning Inspectorate are its commitment to openness, transparency and impartiality in the conduct of its business. We are committed to proactively publishing information which we hold unless to do so would be likely to damage the effective conduct of the Planning Inspectorate's statutory functions or the conduct of its business
The Planning Inspectorate has an active role in advising on the requirements and processes under the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) (see our suite of advice notes and Register of advice). A record of all advice given by the Planning Inspectorate is published in our Register of advice, as required by the PA2008.

When conducting the examination of applications, all evidence available to the Examining Authority is also available to Interested Parties and the wider public through the relevant project page on this website.
FAQ4How can I be kept up to date on proposed developments in my area and about Planning Inspectorate announcements relating to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects?Once the Planning Inspectorate is notified by a potential applicant of a proposed project, it will be added to the published Register of applications.

We offer an email notification service that alerts subscribers of updates during the life cycle of an application. We also offer a RSS feed covering the key milestones of all projects listed on this website.

You can also follow the Planning Inspectorate on Twitter.
FAQ5How do I get hold of documentation about an application?If an application is accepted by the Planning Inspectorate the Applicant will, amongst other things, publish a notice on its own website and in the local and national press telling people where the application documents can be viewed, and explaining copying arrangements.

In addition, application documents will be made available on the relevant project page of this website. Hard copies may be requested. For details on costs please see the charges for information page on the GOV.UK website.
FAQ6Are the Planning Inspectorate’s statutory deadlines for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project applications working days?All statutory deadlines under the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) that are set out for the Planning Inspectorate are calendar days; except for the deadline set by Regulation 10 of The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009. This deadline is made in working days and relates to compliance with section 56 of the PA2008.
FAQ7How are Inspectors appointed to work at the Planning Inspectorate?Inspectors are appointed to the Planning Inspectorate by the organisation through an open and fair recruitment process.
FAQ8How does the Planning Act 2008 process work?The process consists of six stages: Pre-application, Acceptance, Pre-examination, Examination, Recommendation and Decision and Post-decision. Upon receipt of an application for development consent, the Planning Inspectorate has 28 days to decide whether or not to accept it. If an application is accepted, there is a flexible period, the Pre-examination stage, which usually lasting about three months. All parties should use this stage to prepare for the Examination stage. An Examining Authority then has up to six months to examine an application and three months to make their recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State. Examining Authorities comprise between one and five independent Inspectors who make their recommendations to the Secretary of State within the framework provided by the government's National Policy Statements.

For further information see: The process, Legislation and Advice notes.
FAQ9How many people work for the Planning Inspectorate?The Planning Inspectorate employs over 600 staff. Of these around 50 work in administering Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. Inspectors are drawn from a pool of salaried and non-salaried Inspectors and are called upon when needed. Our flexible workforce means we can match people and resources to caseload demand across the business.
FAQ10How long will decisions take?From accepting an application to making a decision, the whole process should last in the region of 16 months. Previously the average time taken for major applications was around 2 years (100 weeks), with some applications for complex major infrastructure projects taking much longer still.
FAQ11What major infrastructure applications are examined by the Planning Inspectorate?The major infrastructure projects dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate under the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) are known as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (or ‘NSIPs’). Projects are within the six general fields of energy; transport; water; waste water; waste and business and commercial. Examples include power stations; railways and major roads; reservoirs; harbours; airports; offshore wind farms and sewage treatment works - in other words, the kinds of large scale facilities that support the everyday life of the country.

The thresholds for NSIPs are set out in sections 15 to 30 of the PA2008.
FAQ12What development is still considered by local authorities?Developments that do not meet the thresholds laid down in Part 3 of the Planning Act 2008 will continue to be considered under the existing processes, for example the Town and Country Planning Act or the Transport and Works Act. The Planning Inspectorate has no role in considering these applications.

Pre-application


Information for local authorities, Statutory Consultees and members of the public. See Advice Note 8.1: Responding to a developer’s pre-application consultation and our Community Consultation FAQ for further information about consultation
FAQ13How can I get involved in having my say on a project?The chance to influence, for example the design, layout, or location of a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project takes place in the Pre-application stage before the Applicant finalises its application and submits it to the Planning Inspectorate. To have your say in shaping a project contact the Applicant to see how to get involved, or look out for advertisements detailing when different consultation events are being held. If an application is accepted by the Planning Inspectorate, look out for the Applicant's notification about the period within which you can register with the Planning Inspectorate to become an Interested Party by making a Relevant Representation.

See Advice Note 8.1: Responding to a developer’s pre-application consultation for further information.
FAQ14Will my views be taken into account?Applicants have a duty to take into account all responses to their statutory consultation at the Pre-application stage. They must summarise all responses in a Consultation Report which must be submitted with an application. The Consultation Report must explain how the Applicant has had regard to consultation responses.

See Advice Note 8.1: Responding to a developer’s pre-application consultation and section 37(7) of the Planning Act 2008for further information.
FAQ15At the Pre-application stage who is responsible for ensuring local residents are correctly informed about the proposal and how will the local residents be involved?The Applicant is responsible for correctly advertising the proposed application under section 48 of the Planning Act 2008. This involves advertising in the local press.
Applicants are also required to prepare a Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC), having sought the views of the host local authority on its content. The Applicant must then carry out its statutory community consultation in accordance with the SoCC. 

See Advice Note 8.1: Responding to a developer’s pre-application consultation and our Community Consultation FAQ for further information.
FAQ16How and when can input be provided on the consultation process undertaken by the Applicant?Please read Advice Note 8.1: Responding to the developer’s Pre-application consultation.
Where you feel that consultation has been inadequately carried out, you should make your comments to the Applicant in the first instance. Any concerns should be raised promptly during or immediately following the consultation to enable the Applicant to address the issues if appropriate.
See the government’s Planning Act 2008:  guidance on the Pre-application process and our Community Consultation FAQ for further information.
FAQ17If we are not considered to be a relevant local authority but a proposal may have a visual impact (or other impact) on our area, should we be consulted by the Applicant?Applicants are expected to consult widely on their proposals and have regard to government guidance as well as the views of relevant local authorities on their proposed consultation with the local community under section 47 of the Planning Act 2008. Advice on the approach taken by the Secretary of State when identifying consultees in relation to Environmental Impact Assessment scoping consultation, including where a proposal might have a visual impact on an area which is not situated in a relevant local authority area, can be found in Advice Note Three: EIA consultation and notification. Applicants would normally be expected to take the same approach to identifying consultees when carrying out their section 42 consultation or alternatively explain in the Consultation Report submitted with their application why they have chosen not to do so.
FAQ18I am a Statutory Consultee. What does this mean?Statutory Consultees are organisations that must be consulted on relevant projects.

Statutory Consultees are listed in Schedule 1 of The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009. The Schedule also indicates the circumstances in which a Statutory Consultee is to be consulted. For example, the Environment Agency must be consulted on all proposed Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs); the Maritime and Coastguard Agency must be consulted on proposed NSIPs which are likely to affect the maritime or coastal environment, or the shipping industry.
FAQ19We are not sure if we are a Statutory Consultee for a specific Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, but we feel that we should be consulted on the proposed application and we haven't been. What should we do?A list of Statutory Consultees is prescribed in Schedule 1 of The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms & Procedure) Regulations 2009. If you are a Statutory Consultee for the proposed application the Applicant has a duty to consult you as prescribed under section 42 of the Planning Act 2008.

If you are unclear as to whether you are a Statutory Consultee for a particular project, please contact the Planning Inspectorate. In any event the Applicant must conduct a public consultation and you may participate in that.
FAQ20Can the response periods set for local authorities be extended to take into account resource issues? In particular, Local Impact Reports (LIRs) will require local authorities to obtain responses from statutory and other consultees.The statutory six month Examination stage is fixed and so local authorities must prepare to submit the LIR within a very short timeframe. It is very important therefore for local authorities to begin work on the LIR well before the start of the Examination stage. There is no requirement under section 60 of the Planning Act 2008 for local authorities to carry out a consultation exercise prior to preparing and submitting their LIR to the Planning Inspectorate. Statutory Parties and other Interested Parties may submit their representations directly to the Planning Inspectorate.

Guidance on the preparation of LIRs is available in Advice Note One: Local Impact Reports and the government’s Planning Act 2008:  guidance on the Pre-application process. The deadline for the submission of LIRs will be set by the Examining Authority at or soon after the Preliminary Meeting. LIRs are important reports giving details of the likely impact of the Proposed Development on the local authority's area. The local authority can decide on the contents of the report. LIRs must be considered by the Examining Authority and the decision-maker
FAQ21How do we prepare a Local Impact Report (LIR)?The LIR is a vital document that will help to inform the recommendations made by Examining Authorities. It should give details of the likely effects of the Proposed Development on the local authority's area, or any part of it.

Guidance on the preparation of LIRs is available in Advice note One: Local Impact Reports and the government’s Planning Act 2008: guidance on the Pre-application process
FAQ22What is the difference between being a Statutory Consultee and an Interested Party?At the Pre-application stage the onus is on the Applicant to consult with Statutory Consultees (as defined by Schedule 1 of The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms And Procedures) Regulations 2009) and the local community. If the application is accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate, the Applicant must publicise this and set a deadline for the receipt of Relevant Representations.

Any member of the public who makes a Relevant Representation becomes an Interested Party at this stage. Statutory Parties must also make a Relevant Representation to become an Interested Party, or otherwise confirm their wish to be treated as an Interested Party to the Planning Inspectorate before the close of the Examination. All Interested Parties will be invited to make further Written Representations and can take part in the Examination at hearings etc.
FAQ23How can stakeholders comment on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process at the Pre-application stage when the Environmental Statement (ES) is not published until it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate?Where an application is EIA development, stakeholders will have the opportunity to comment on Preliminary Environmental Information at the Pre-application stage and make Relevant Representations and Written Representations to the Examining Authority on the ES at the Pre-examination and Examination stages. Although not required by legislation, an applicant may decide to share relevant chapters of the draft ES with stakeholders prior to submission of its application in order to obtain comments and address any issues prior to submission.
FAQ24What is a Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC)? How do I contribute to this?The SoCC is produced by the Applicant to establish the way it will consult with the local community at the Pre-application stage. The SoCC is sent to the host local authorities to comment on. The Applicant must consult on the content of the SoCC with the local authorities within whose boundary the Proposed Development would be located and allow at least 28 days for responses. Consultation on the SoCC provides an opportunity for the host local authorities to help the Applicant prepare a consultation programme that is tailored to the needs of the communities likely to be affected by a Proposed Development. Further information can be found in the government’s Planning Act 2008:  guidance on the Pre-application process and our Community Consultation FAQ.

The Applicant must have regard to the comments received from the host local authorities and then carry out the consultation with the local community as set out in the SoCC.

If local people have ideas on how community consultation is best carried out, they can submit them to their local authority to pass on to the Applicant in its response to the SoCC. Alternatively they can advise the Applicant directly using the contact details provided in their publicity material or on the Planning Inspectorate project page.
FAQ25What if a Proposed Development is located in more than one local authority? How do we need to work together?The Planning Inspectorate encourages dialogue between local authorities affected by a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).

Ultimately, it is for the particular local authority/ authorities to judge how best to respond to the Planning Inspectorate when notified of a proposed NSIP. However, if several local authorities are affected they may wish to discuss and co-ordinate representations and the content of Local Impact Reports, if this is the clearest and most effective means of conveying their views.
FAQ26How can we ensure that our local communities are properly consulted and able to have their views considered?Local authorities can achieve this by advising people on how to find out more about a proposed application, and the opportunities for being involved. This can be done through contact with the Applicant or the Planning Inspectorate.

Consultation with local communities will be enhanced through thorough and informative responses that are given to the Applicant's Statement of Community Consultation.

Pre-application


Information for applicants
. For further information see The process page.
FAQ27How do I apply to the Planning Inspectorate?You must apply for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Planning Inspectorate using the correct forms and providing the necessary range of documents, including a draft of the DCO itself. The exact details of the required application submissions can be obtained from section 37 of the Planning Act 2008 and regulations 5 to 7 of The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009. The application form and associated guidance is available to download on the Submitting an application for development consent page.

For further information see Advice Note Six: Preparation and submission of application documents and Advice Note Fifteen: Drafting Development Consent Orders.
FAQ28When does the formal Pre-application stage start?Applicants routinely start developing projects long before the Planning Inspectorate is notified and statutory consultation commences.

When an applicant informs the Planning Inspectorate that it intends to submit an application in the future, the project is added to the Register of applications along with the expected date of submission.

At the latest, an applicant needs to inform the Planning Inspectorate of its intent to submit an application for development consent in the future just before, or at the same time as starting, its statutory consultation under section 42 and section 47 of the Planning Act 2008.

For further information see Advice Note 8.1: Responding to a developer’s pre-application consultation.

FAQ29I am promoting a major infrastructure project that doesn’t meet the relevant thresholds set out in the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008). Is it still possible to use to the PA2008 process?The Secretary of State (SoS) may give a direction for development to be treated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, subject to the detailed provisions set out in section 35 of the PA2008.
Potential applicants who are considering making an application for a direction under s35 of the PA2008 should liaise directly with relevant SoS.
FAQ30Will the Planning Inspectorate review our draft Environmental Statement (ES)?We will advise where possible and lawful on particular issues regarding a draft ES (eg project description, methodology etc). However, the Inspectorate is not resourced to review a full draft ES. Applicants should take their own professional advice and ensure that the ES meets the requirements of The Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017 and, where a Scoping Opinion has been sought from the Planning Inspectorate, that the ES has addressed the matters identified in the opinion. Liaison with relevant Statutory Consultees at the Pre-application stage is particularly important.

For further information see Advice Note Seven: EIA: Process. Preliminary Environmental Information and Advice Note Ten: HRA relevant to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.
FAQ31Why does the Planning Inspectorate ask for anticipated submission dates?Anticipated submission dates help the Planning Inspectorate to plan the allocation of its resources to different projects. The dates do not have to be exact, but a realistic estimate is appreciated and gives the public and other stakeholders an awareness of proposals likely to be coming forward.
FAQ32How do I prepare a Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC)?In preparing a SoCC, the Planning Inspectorate strongly advises that applicants make contact with the relevant local authorities as early as possible.

Local authorities will have valuable local knowledge about the make-up of local communities and information on local groups that can usefully be consulted; for example community groups.
FAQ33Can changes to a Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) be made if they are 'enhancements' and are agreed with the relevant local authority, without preparing and publicising a new SoCC?Once a SoCC has been advertised there is only limited flexibility to vary how the Applicant is to carry out the consultation set out in the document without needing to prepare and publicise a new SoCC. The degree of flexibility that may be possible in each case will, amongst other things, depend on how the SoCC is worded and whether any departures from what is set out in the SoCC have been notified to and agreed beforehand with the relevant local authority.

Applicants may, for example, be able to consult more widely and/ or more extensively than is required by a SoCC without having to prepare and publicise a new SoCC. However, if the changes, for example, resulted in fewer people and/ or a smaller area being consulted than required under the SoCC, then this is unlikely to be sufficient to show compliance with s47 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008). In any event, applicants should explain the approach taken to carrying out s47 consultation in their Consultation Report.

If s47 has not been complied with then there is a risk that an application may not be accepted for examination. This is because there is a statutory duty on applicants under s47(7) of the PA2008 to carry out their community consultation in accordance with the proposals set out in the SoCC. The Secretary of State will only accept an application if, amongst other matters, he or she is satisfied that the Applicant has complied with the Pre-application procedure, including s47. The adequacy of any consultation is a matter for the Secretary of State to consider in each case under s55 of the PA2008, and the Planning Inspectorate cannot pre-judge what decision it might take.
FAQ34Who do I need to consult and how?Before an application is submitted applicants must consult widely in order to refine their proposals. There are many organisations that need to be consulted during the process. A list of these bodies can be found in sections 42 to 44 of the Planning Act 2008 and Schedule 1 of The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009. These include local authorities, Statutory Consultees and those owning or having an interest in the land that would be affected by the Proposed Development.

If an application is accepted for examination, the Applicant must also notify certain bodies of this decision and publish notices in the press inviting members of the public and other persons to register their interest in the application with the Planning Inspectorate by making a Relevant Representation.

Acceptance


For further information see The process page.
FAQ35How can the Planning Inspectorate decide whether the Applicant’s Pre-application consultation has been adequate when the local authorities who submit a response to the Planning Inspectorate about adequacy of consultation may not know whether an applicant has done what it said it would do?When deciding whether to accept an application for examination, the Inspectorate considers whether an Applicant has complied with the Pre-application procedure. In making this decision the Inspectorate takes into account any Adequacy of Consultation Representations from relevant local authorities on whether the Applicant has complied with s42, s47 and s48 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008). It might be helpful to local authorities if they try to ensure the Applicant includes in its Statement of Community Consultation (prepared under s47 of the PA2008) the means to monitor the situation. This could include requiring the Applicant to provide evidence during the process direct to the local authorities involved of activities undertaken. This way the local authorities can be more confident in submitting representations about the adequacy of consultation.

For further advice see our Community Consultation FAQ.

Pre-Examination


For further information see The process page.
FAQ36Who has the responsibility for notification of an accepted application at the Pre-examination stage?The Applicant has the responsibility to notify the relevant local authorities, all Statutory Parties and persons with an interest in the land (as defined in s44 of the Planning Act 2008).

The Planning Inspectorate will also update the relevant project page on its website. You can also sign up for email update and follow the progress of accepted applications on Twitter.

Under s56 of the Planning Act 2008 the Applicant also has a duty to publicise an accepted application in the manner prescribed in Regulation 4 of The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms And Procedures) Regulations 2009. This publication must set the deadline for the receipt of Relevant Representations by the Planning Inspectorate which must be a period of at least 30 days* following the date when the notice was last published in the local newspaper.
*For projects caught by the transitional provisions in The Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017, this period is 28 days.
FAQ37What is a certificate under section 58?A certificate under s58 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) is a document that certifies to the Planning Inspectorate that the Applicant has complied with s56 of the PA2008 (Notifying persons of an accepted application). The prescribed form can be found in Schedule 3 of The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms And Procedures) Regulations 2009.

The Applicant must certify to the Planning Inspectorate within ten working days immediately following the deadline for receipt of Relevant Representations that it has complied with s56 of the PA2008. In a case where no such certificate is received the Planning Inspectorate will be unable to commence the examination of the application.
FAQ38How long does the Pre-examination stage take?The Pre-examination stage begins if the Planning Inspectorate accepts an application submitted to it. This stage of the process has no fixed timetable as it is up to the Applicant to determine how long it wishes to allow for people to register as an Interested Party by submitting a Relevant Representations (subject to a minimum of 30 days*). The Planning Inspectorate expects Pre-examination to normally take approximately three months to complete.

The Pre-examination stage ends on the day before the first day of the Preliminary Meeting. The Examination stage commences on the first day of the Preliminary Meeting (section 98 of the Planning Act 2008).
*For projects caught by the transitional provisions in The Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017, this period is 28 days.
FAQ39I am a potential applicant. What publicity do I need to undertake as part of the application process?If an application is accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate, the Applicant must notify the relevant local authorities and publicise the application by means of a notice in accordance with section 56 of the Planning Act 2008.

The notice must be published in the press and other journals. In addition, the notice must be displayed in an accessible place at the site, or, if the Proposed Development is linear, at intervals of no more than 5km along its route. The notice must set out how the application documents can be inspected and include the timescale for making a Relevant Representation to the Planning Inspectorate.

Full details of this publicity are set out in Regulation 9 of The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009 and in The Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules 2010.
FAQ40I want to make my case on a proposed Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project to the Planning Inspectorate. What do I need to do?If the application is still in the Pre-application stage then you will need to contact the Applicant to get involved in shaping the project. See our Community Consultation FAQ for further information.
If an application has been accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate, the Relevant Representation period is the first time during which comments on an application can be submitted to the Inspectorate for consideration by the Examining Authority. To make this initial representation, as a member of the public you will need to register as an Interested Party for a specific application. As a result you will be kept informed of progress and opportunities to get involved in the examination of the application.

For further information on how to do this see Advice Note 8.2: How to register to take part in an Examination.
FAQ41Can a member of the public be considered an Interested Party?Yes, any member of the public can register as an Interested Party on any application. It is important to register at the time advertised by the Applicant, which can be done most easily using the electronic form made available on the project page on the Planning Inspectorate’s website. The progress of an application can also be monitored here.
FAQ42How can I register as an Interested Party?If you have an email address the easiest method of registering is online via our website. The online form is available on the relevant project page for the duration of the registration period. The form is easy to complete as it will take you through the questions and only ask those which are relevant to you. It will also check the form for you to make sure we have all the information we need and to prevent you from sending it off incomplete.

Any person who registers successfully will become an Interested Party and receive individual correspondence from us. If more than one person from a household, for example, wishes to speak at any subsequent hearing, then each person needs to register separately.

Each individual Interested Party will receive their own letter providing information about the Examination, and a unique identification number.
FAQ43How many hard copy Relevant Representation forms can I request?We are only able to offer hard copy forms to you and other members of your household. If other people require their own forms they need to contact the helpline on 0303 444 5000 separately as they also need a unique identification number issued to them.
FAQ44When can I register as an Interested Party?You can register as an Interested Party after the application has been accepted for examination and the Applicant has published a notice of the accepted application. The deadline to submit Relevant Representations to become an Interested Party will never be less than 30 days* following the date that the Applicant publishes its notice of an accepted application.

For further information on the content of this notice and who it must go to see section 56(2) of the Planning Act 2008.
*For projects caught by the transitional provisions in The Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017, this period is 28 days.
FAQ45Will there be any difference in the importance of points made by people living in the vicinity of the Proposed Development and people living further away from the Proposed Development?The Examining Authority will determine how much weight is afforded to representations and supporting evidence.
FAQ46Will you accept representations that miss the deadline?To register as an Interested Party you must do so before the deadline set. The acceptance of submissions from non-Interested Parties is at the discretion of the Examining Authority and should not be relied upon.
FAQ47Do we have to register as an Interested Party if we are a local authority?For the purpose of section 102(1)(c) of the Planning Act 2008 a local authority is automatically an Interested Party if the Proposed Development is located within its administrative boundary.
Local authorities which share a boundary with the local authority within which the Proposed Development would be located will be invited to the Preliminary Meeting and informed of the procedural decisions made at the Preliminary Meeting. However, in order to secure Interested Party status in the examination of an application, boundary authorities must either make a Relevant Representation or otherwise inform the Planning Inspectorate of their wish to become an Interested Party before the end of the Examination. 

Notwithstanding the status of a local authority, the Planning Inspectorate encourages all interested local authorities to make a Relevant Representation to provide the Examining Authority with their early views on the application. This will enable the local authority’s views to inform the Examining Authority’s Initial Assessment of Principal Issues for the Examination.

Examination


For further information see The process page.
FAQ48What is the Preliminary Meeting?The Preliminary Meeting is where the Applicant, Interested Parties and others make oral representations to the Examining Authority on how the application should be examined (s88 of the Planning Act 2008). This can include, but is not limited to, discussions on the dates set for submission of Written Representations and the need for Issue Specific Hearings. The Preliminary Meeting is a procedural meeting. It is not for the discussion of the merits of the application itself.

It is for the Examining Authority to preside over the Preliminary Meeting and to decide which matters are to be discussed and how, as per The Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules 2010. See Advice Note 8.3: Influencing how an application is examined for further information.
FAQ49Will Preliminary Meetings and examination hearings be held in Bristol or in the vicinity of the Proposed Development?Where practical, meetings and hearings should be held at a location as close as possible to the site of the Proposed Development. Venues are chosen against criteria which consider proximity to the development site, accessibility and size. It is the Applicant's responsibility to find a suitable venue for the Preliminary Meeting and any examination hearings (to be agreed with the Planning Inspectorate), and fund their use.
FAQ50What is the Examination Timetable?The Examining Authority sets the timetable and what form the Examination will take at, or as soon as practicable after, the Preliminary Meeting. All Interested Parties and Statutory Parties will be informed of the Examination Timetable once finalised.
FAQ51Can I attend an examination hearing? Will I be able to speak?All hearings are held in public and anyone can attend.

Subject to the discretion of the Examining Authority, anyone who has registered as an Interested Party has the opportunity to speak at hearings. The main method of examining an application is by Written Representations. Issue Specific Hearings may be held if the Examining Authority considers it necessary. If any Interested Party asks for an Open Floor Hearing, and/or someone with an interest in land proposed to be acquired compulsorily requests a Compulsory Acquisition Hearing, then one must be held by the Examining Authority.
FAQ52Can I speak at the hearing if I haven't registered as an Interested Party?It is at the discretion of the Examining Authority to allow an unregistered person to make an oral representation at a hearing.

See Rule 14(10) of The
Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules 2010
for further information.
FAQ53What happens if I cannot attend a hearing?If you are unable to attend a hearing, you can submit your representations to the Examining Authority in writing. Alternatively you may send a representative to the hearing in your place either to hear what is said or to make oral representations on your behalf. The hearing will be held in public and the procedures ensure that the hearing itself will be conducted in a fair and open manner. You could also contact community groups, environmental groups or other Interested Party groups who may be present at the hearing. They may be willing to make the representations on your behalf, or may make the same points as you.

All hearings are recorded. The audio recordings are published to the relevant project page as soon as practicable after each hearing.
FAQ54What teams of specialists does the Planning Inspectorate have?The Planning Inspectorate employs a number of specialists in planning, law and Environmental Impact Assessment. However it is neither possible nor necessary to employ specialists for each issue likely to arise across the variety of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. Examining Authorities will consider the full range of evidence put before them during an Examination, and if necessary an expert assessor can be appointed to assist them.
FAQ55Can Requirements be imposed on a Development Consent Order (DCO) to ensure that specified matters are complied with?Yes, Requirements are routinely imposed in a DCO. Requirements are similar to planning conditions in Town and Country Planning Act decisions, specifying conditions and restrictions on the development and matters for which detailed approval needs to be obtained before the development can be lawfully begun.
FAQ56What is a Local Impact Report (LIR)? How can I contribute to this?Once the examination of an application has begun, the Examining Authority invites the relevant local authorities to submit a LIR on the likely effects of the Proposed Development on the local area. Interested Parties are notified of the timeframe for commenting on the LIR in the Examination Timetable that is set out in the ‘Rule 8 letter’ (see Rule 8 in The Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules 2010).

Recommendation and Decision


For further information see The process page.
FAQ57What policy is used by Examining Authorities to examine and make recommendations about applications?Examining Authorities must make recommendations in accordance with the government’s National Policy Statements (NPSs); except in specified circumstances including where the adverse impacts of a Proposed Development would outweigh its benefits (see s104 of the Planning Act 2008 for further information). The NPSs undergo a democratic process of public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny before being designated (ie adopted). Other policies may also be relevant and important matters which the Examining Authority will consider.

For more information see the National Policy Statements page.
FAQ58What policy is used by Examining Authorities to examine and make recommendations about applications?Decisions will ultimately be made by the relevant Secretary of State (SoS) after receiving the recommendation from the Examining Authority. The relevant SoS is the minister with responsibility for the area of government business that an application relates to eg the SoS for Transport takes the final decision on highway applications.

The relevant SoS has three months in which to make a decision.
FAQ59What are the consequences if the Secretary of State (SoS) does not accept a recommendation made by an Examining Authority?The SoS takes the final decision so he or she doesn’t have to agree with the recommendation made by the Examining Authority. The Recommendation Report will be published along with the SoS's decision and statement of reasons so it will be possible to see why a recommendation has not been followed.

Post-decision


For further information see The process page.
FAQ60Who is responsible for enforcement once a Development Consent Order (DCO) has been granted?The relevant local planning authority is usually responsible for enforcing the provisions and Requirements set out in the DCO (see Part 8 of the Planning Act 2008). Any conditions on a deemed Coast Protection Act 1949 consent or Food and Environmental Protection Act 1989 licence (or Deemed Marine Licence) would though be enforced by the Marine Management Organisation
FAQ61Can I appeal against a decision of the Secretary of State?There is no right of appeal. Applications can be made to the courts for Judicial Review (JR) after the Secretary of State has made his or her decision. You should take your own legal advice about making an application for JR.