Video transcript: The role of local authorities in the process video

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This video explains the role of the local authorities in the development consent regime for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects otherwise known as NSIPs.

The development consent regime is the process developers must go through when seeking permission to construct an NSIP.

Your authority will play a vital role in the examination of these schemes.

Although local authorities do not decide whether or not such schemes go ahead, the evidence and opinion of your authority helps shape them.

This information is considered carefully by an inspector, or panel of inspectors, appointed within the Planning Inspectorate to consider the application and make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State.

The six stages of an NSIP application:

  • Pre Application
  • Acceptance
  • Pre-examination
  • The Examination
  • Recommendation and Decision
  • Post Decision

Pre Application stage

At this stage, the Planning Inspectorate will consult your authority on the applicant’s Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report.

We will write to you and you will have 28 days to comment.

If the proposal is situated within your authority’s boundaries, you will be consulted by the applicant about the Statement of Community Consultation otherwise known as a SoCC.

The SoCC sets out how the applicant proposes to consult the community.

This is a key opportunity for your authority to advise the applicant, using your local knowledge, as for how the consultation should be conducted.

It is also at this stage that the applicant will carry out statutory consultation with your authority, statutory bodies, Affected Persons and the local community about the scheme itself.

It is important that all your delegated responsibilities are put in place far in advance of the submission.

The applicant is required to take into account any relevant responses received during its statutory consultation.

Acceptance Stage

When an application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, we must decide within 28 days whether all the relevant documentation has been submitted to enable the application to proceed.

As part of this, we will ask local authorities to provide a statement on the adequacy of the applicant’s consultation, usually within 14 days of the receipt of the application.

We always try to give you two weeks’ advance warning to allow you to submit this statement on time.

If we refuse the application, there is a six-week window for the applicant to raise a legal challenge.

If we accept the application the process moves to the next stage. Depending upon the preference of the Applicant, the application documents will have either been published on the National Infrastructure Planning website on receipt of the application or directly following the decision to accept the application.

Pre-examination stage

At the Pre-examination stage, the applicant must publicise that the application has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate and include when and how parties can register to get involved in the Examination as Interested Parties.

If you are a host authority, you are automatically registered as an Interested Party.

If you are a neighbouring authority however, you must register as an Interested Party if you wish to take part in the Examination.

Both host and neighbouring authorities should submit a Relevant Representation via our website so we can assess the initial issues relevant to the scheme.

It also helps us ensure we have your current contact details.

The time period for registering is set by the applicant but must be no less than 30 days for EIA development.

A Preliminary Meeting will then be held to discuss procedural issues and a timetable for examination.

The close of the Preliminary Meeting marks the end of the Pre-examination stage.

The Examination Stage

The Examination stage starts the day after the close of the Preliminary Meeting.

As part of the examination process, the Examining Authority will invite your authority to submit a Local Impact Report.

Your authority may wish to use the Pre-application period, stage one of the process, to begin work on the Local Impact Report as a deadline for its receipt will be set early in the Examination.

This report should objectively assess the potential impacts of the scheme and provide evidence about the characteristics of the area.

During the Examination all Interested Parties, including your authority, will be invited to submit Written Representations, respond to the Examining Authority’s questions and comment on other submissions.

You will also be invited to hearings and site visits.

You may use your Written Representation to express your authority’s views on the application.

You are encouraged to work with the applicant and statutory bodies to produce Statements of Common Ground to set out areas of agreement between your authority, the applicant and others.

We will not accept submissions after the close of the Examination stage.

Recommendation and Decision Stage

During this stage, the Examining Authority has three months to write its recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State.

The relevant Secretary of State makes the final decision for all NSIPs.

The Secretary of State has three months to make a decision whether or not to grant consent.

Post Decision stage

The final stage of the process is the Post Decision stage.

This provides a six-week window for the applicant, any of the Interested Parties, local authorities or indeed anyone else to legally challenge the Secretary of State’s decision.

In summary, your authority has a vital role to play in the development consent regime process.

You are encouraged to engage with the applicant, as well as the Planning Inspectorate, at the key points throughout the process.

You will find further information on our website infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk including many helpful advice notes.

Advice notes one, three, seven, eight and fourteen may be of particular interest to you.

Alternatively, you can contact customer services by telephone on 0303 444 5000 or by email at [email protected]

 

Video transcript: Six stages of the National Infrastructure Planning process

There are six stages of the development consent regime for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects otherwise known as NSIPs:

  • Pre Application
  • Acceptance
  • Pre-examination
  • The Examination
  • Recommendation and Decision
  • Post Decision

The development consent regime is the process applicants must go through when seeking permission to construct an NSIP.   NSIPs include generating stations such as wind farms and power stations, electricity line such as new power lines and pylons, transport projects such as the building of roads or railway lines, waste and water such as the construction of a reservoir or wastewater treatment plant, pipelines for example to carry natural gas between a power station and the national transmission network.

The primary legislation that underpins the development consent regime is the Planning Act 2008.

Pre Application stage

At the Pre-application stage the applicant is at the centre of the process and has full responsibility for developing the project. An applicant is likely to be a large developer, a government agency or possibly a local council. The development consent regime is a front-loaded process. This means the development proposal has to be fully scoped and refined before the submission of an application to the Planning Inspectorate. It is at this stage that the applicant must formally consult with all statutory bodies, local authorities, the local community and any affected persons.

If your land is subject to any Compulsory Acquisition you will be an Affected Person and will be notified by the applicant.

Once an application has been submitted there is very little scope for change.
Therefore, those who wish to influence any proposal should engage with the applicant at this stage when the applicant advertises its consultation.  You will usually respond to the consultation via email, on the applicant’s website or at a consultation event.
This should be done by the deadline set in the publicity.

The applicant is required to take into account any relevant responses received during formal consultation. The Pre-application stage can take as much time as is needed and is driven by the applicant.

Acceptance Stage

After the Pre-application stage comes the Acceptance stage.

It is at this point that the Planning Inspectorate moves to the heart of the process.
The Application is formally submitted by the applicant to the Planning Inspectorate.
We must decide within 28 days whether all relevant documentation has been submitted to enable the application to proceed.

If we refuse the application there is a six-week window for the applicant to raise a legal challenge. If we accept the application the process moves to the next stage. Depending upon the preference of the Applicant, the application documents will have either been published on the National Infrastructure Planning website on receipt of the application or directly following the decision to accept the application.

Pre-examination stage

At the Pre-examination stage the applicant must publicise that the application has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate and include when and how parties can register to get involved in the Examination as Interested Parties.

The time period for registering is set by the applicant but must be no less than 28 days.
From within the Planning Inspectorate, an inspector, or panel of inspectors, will be appointed as the Examining Authority.

A Preliminary Meeting will then be held to discuss procedural issues and the timetable for Examination.

All Interested Parties will be notified of the date of the Preliminary Meeting.
After the close of the Preliminary Meeting, all parties will be notified of the Examination Timetable.  The close of the Preliminary Meeting marks the end of the Pre-examination stage.

The Examination Stage

The Examination stage starts the day after the close of the Preliminary Meeting.
It is at this stage that the Examining Authority examines the application and the Examination must be completed within six months.

The Examination is primarily conducted through written representations; however, hearings can also be held.These will normally be conducted in an inquisitorial manner.
Each Interested Party is entitled to make oral representations about the application.

Recommendation and Decision

During this stage the Examining Authority has three months to write its recommendation and submit it to the relevant Secretary of State.

The relevant Secretary of State makes the final decision for all NSIPs. The Secretary of State has three months to make its decision whether or not to grant consent.

Post Decision stage

The final stage of the process is the Post Decision stage.
This provides a six-week window for the applicant, any of the Interested Parties, or indeed anyone else to legally challenge the Secretary of State’s decision.

You will find further information on our website: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk which includes many helpful advice notes. Alternatively, you can contact customer services by telephone on 0303 444 5000 or by email [email protected]orate.gov.uk .

Video transcript: How to take part in an Issue Specific Hearing

This video explains what to expect at an Issue Specific Hearing held during the Examination of a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination.

Whilst the Examination is mainly a written process, the Examining Authority may decide to hold Issue Specific Hearings.

The purpose of these hearings is for the Examining Authority to ask questions and clarify evidence that has been submitted during Examination through direct questioning.

To take part in an Issue Specific Hearing, you should be registered as an Interested Party.

An Interested Party can also be someone with an interest in land affected by the project or are a statutory organisation.

The inspector or panel of inspectors examining the application are in charge of hearings.

The inspector or inspectors are called the Examining Authority.

They lead the hearing to ensure it runs smoothly and on time, allowing everyone a fair opportunity to give their views.

It is up to the Examining Authority to decide which topics will be discussed and who will be specifically invited to discuss them.

The topics and the names of parties who have been asked to speak will usually be set out in an agenda and published on our website approximately one week before the hearing.

Even if you are not on the list of requested attendees you may still attend the hearing.

The Examining Authority may wish to hear from other Interested Parties during the meeting.

These hearings are usually in roundtable format with the applicant and requested attendees sitting at a table alongside the Examining Authority.

Members of the public are generally seated behind the roundtable to form an audience.

Cross examination of a person giving evidence by another person will only be permitted if the Examining Authority decides it is necessary to ensure representations are adequately tested or that a person has had a fair chance to put their case.

Parties wanting to present and rely on expert evidence are advised to ensure that the expert advisors are present on each day of the hearings to give evidence and to be questioned.

There are a number of general points which apply to these hearings.

We will aim to hold hearings at venues local to the project area.

To ensure we have a suitable venue we will ask you to let us know if you are going to attend.

Details on how to do this will be sent to you if you are an Interested Party and will also be published on our website.

Notification of the date, time and location of hearings will be published on our website at least 21 days in advance of the event.

Notices will be placed in the vicinity of the proposal and published in local newspapers.

Whilst hearings are open for everyone to attend, Interested Parties will be given priority to speak.

People who aren’t Interested Parties are not automatically entitled to speak during the hearing but the Examining Authority may allow them to do so.

Members of the Planning Inspectorate staff will usually be on hand to inform you where to sit and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

You may use social media or record the events but this must be done responsibly and with proper consideration for other parties.

The Examining Authority might ask you to refrain if it is distracting.

No individually recorded items may be relied on as evidence by any party or used in submissions.

An audio recording is made of all hearings and will be made available to download on our website.

You will find further information on our website including the project application documents as well as many helpful advice notes and information about the examination process.

Alternatively, our customer service team can provide advice over the phone on  0303 444 5000 or by email at [email protected].

 

Video transcript: How to take part at a Preliminary Meeting

This video explains what to expect at a Preliminary Meeting.

A Preliminary Meeting is held at the start of the Examination of a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project or NSIP for short.

Applications for NSIPs are submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for Examination.

To take part at a Preliminary Meeting you should be registered as an Interested Party.

An Interested Party can also be someone with an interest in land affected by the project or a statutory organisation.

The Preliminary Meeting is a procedural meeting that considers how the application will be examined so a suitable timetable for the Examination can be set.

If you’re an Interested Party you will be sent a letter inviting you to the Preliminary Meeting which will also be published on our website.

It contains an agenda for the meeting and a draft timetable for how the Examination will proceed.

Interested Parties will receive their letter at least three weeks before the meeting.

The inspector or panel of up to five inspectors examining the application are in charge of the Preliminary Meeting.

The Inspector or Inspectors are called the Examining Authority.

They lead the meeting to ensure it runs smoothly under time allowing everyone a fair opportunity to have an appropriate say.

The Examining Authority will want to hear a wide range of views including what the key issues are what they need to consider when creating the Examination Timetable.

This however is not a hearing where the merits of the project are discussed.

There are a number of points to be aware of.

We hold meetings at suitable venues as close to the local area of the project as possible.

To ensure we can accommodate everyone you should let us know if you will be attending the meeting as soon as possible after receiving the invitation letter.

This letter will give details of how to do this and who to contact.

Whilst the meeting is open for everyone to attend, Interested Parties will be given priority if space is limited.

People who aren’t Interested Parties are not automatically entitled to speak during the meeting but the Examining Authority may allow them to do so.

Preliminary Meetings are usually held in a theatre style format.

If you are speaking you will be asked to speak into a microphone.

A hard copy of the documents submitted by the developers such as site plans or environmental information will be available to view.

Members of the Planning Inspectorate staff will usually be on hand to inform you where to sit and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

You may use social media or record the events, but this must be done responsibly and proper consideration for the other parties.

The Examining Authority might ask you to refrain if it is too distracting.

No individually recorded items may be relied on as evidence by any party or used in submissions.

A written note and audio recording is made of the meeting and will be made available for download on our website.

Following the Preliminary Meeting the Examination Timetable will be sent to Interested Parties and will also be available on our website.

Th close of the Preliminary Meeting marks the start of the Examination stage.

You will find further information on our website which includes many helpful advice notes and information about the application process.

Alternatively, our customer service team can provide advice over the phone on 0303 444 5000 or by email at [email protected].

 

Video transcript: How to have your say on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

This video explains how members of the public can get involved and have their say in the development consent regime for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects otherwise known as NSIPs.

Before continuing this video, we would recommend you read our video transcript on the six-stage process.

The six stages of an NSIP application:

  • Pre Application
  • Acceptance
  • Pre-examination
  • The Examination
  • Recommendation and Decision
  • Post Decision

The Planning Act 2008 defines and establishes a process for examining NSIPs which would previously be consented by different government departments.

The need for these schemes is established in National Policy Statements and the purpose of the process is to weigh the local impacts of the scheme against the national need for such infrastructure in a fair, open and impartial manner.

Our inspectors, who form what is known as the Examining Authority in considering projects, will make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State about whether or not to grant consent for these schemes.

The Pre-application stage

It is important you engage with the applicant at this stage whilst the scheme is being shaped.

Although you may object to the scheme in principle, this stage is your chance to shape it by suggesting, for example, alternative layouts or plans or ways of reducing the impact of extra traffic.

The applicant will publicise how they are going to consult you and will inform you where events will take place and how long you will have to respond to the consultation.

Keep an eye out for adverts in local papers, on the applicant’s website and in local community meeting places for information on how to get involved.

The Pre-examination stage

If an application is accepted by the Planning Inspectorate, you can register to get involved in the Examination as an Interested Party.

You must register as an Interested Party to be involved in the Examination.

The easiest way to register is to complete the form on our website.

You will need to give a summary of your views when you register but you will be invited to make further representations later in the process once you have registered.

When registering, think about who you will be representing throughout the Examination.

You can of course represent yourself and your family’s interests.

You can also effectively participate as a member of a group or leader of a group.

The key thing to remember is that it is the quality of information, not the number of times it is presented, that is the most effective way to participate.

This is a picture of a typical project page.  The video shows a picture of a project page on the National Infrastructure site.

You may wish to set this page as a favourite as this will become the hub of the Examination where all the applicant’s documents and all representations made will be made available.

This is where you make your Relevant Representation. The video shows an image of the Relevant Representation form that is advertised on the project page when the period for making representations is open.

The form contains all the details we need to keep in touch with you during the Examination.

You will not be able to submit a representation without filling in these fields.

This box should contain your representation.  The video shows the field on the relevant representation form where you enter your representation.  The field is labelled Your representation.

Once you have clicked submit with a representation that sets out your views on the scheme you are an Interested Party and will be kept informed of the progress of the proposed scheme.

The Examination Stage

The Examination Timetable set at the Preliminary Meeting provides all the deadlines for the submissions of representations.

You should submit your representation within good time of this deadline.

Your main submission will be your Written Representation which will be requested fairly early in the Examination period.

If you disagree with what another party has said, you will have the chance to say so by commenting on their representation.

As an Interested Party you will also have the right to speak at hearings and submit a written summary of what you have said after the hearing.

There are three types of hearings that may be held.

Issue specific, open floor and compulsory acquisition.

You may be invited to, and can attend, these hearings if they are relevant to you.

When making a representation you should base it on your experience of the local area and how you think the proposal will impact on you and, if possible, provide evidence to support your submission.

Recommendation and Decision stage

Once the six-month Examination is over, you will be notified about its close, after this, the Examining Authority can no longer accept any submissions.

The Examining Authority has three months to write its recommendation and submit it to the relevant Secretary of State.

The relevant Secretary of State makes the final decision for all NSIPs.

The Secretary of State has three months to decide whether or not to follow the Examining Authority’s recommendation and to make its decision.

So, in summary, engage early with the applicant to shape the scheme.

Register as an Interested Party with us within the given time or join a group that has done do.

If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to take part in the Examination.

Make your representations in a way which gives the most information possible, based on fact and experience, about the impacts of the scheme.

Be objective rather than subjective and provide evidence where possible.

I do hope this video has helped you.

You will find further information on our website infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk including many helpful advice notes.

Alternatively, you can contact customer services by telephone on 0303 444 5000 or by email [email protected][1]

 

 

 

[1] Deleted: [email protected]

Video transcript: Planning Inspectorate pre-application service for applicants

This video message is presented by Mark Southgate the former Director of Major Casework at the Planning Inspectorate.

The Planning Inspectorate has launched its prospectus for National Infrastructure.

The 2008 National Infrastructure regime is relatively new but has just had a review.

Generally, all the applicants who are using it and users find it a very helpful system but one of the areas they felt there could be improvement is on the Pre-application element.

Pre-application is a really important part of the process.

Basically, if applicants spend time working on consultation and environmental assessment of that stage, they are able to have a very structured and relatively speedy examination and decision-making process.

So, the prospectus is to help applicants through that, PINS can provide a structured approach.

We can provide advice around policy.

For those who are relatively new to the process, we can provide advice around how the system works, what you need to do and that’s all based on the experience of our most senior caseworkers who have been working with the system now for up to five years.

So, this prospectus is based on tried and tested policy and advice and we think we will be very helpful to developers but also to local authorities, statutory consultees and anybody who is getting involved in the process for the first time.

One final thing we can do is we can also act as facilitator for discussions with key bodies such as local authorities, statutory consultees and others where that’s helpful and that’s also part of our service.

Most importantly of all, the service is a free service so if you read the prospectus, you’ll be able to decide if that is a service for you.

It’s not compulsory but if you want to take it then we will be more than happy to discuss it with you and if necessary, agree a contact plan so we can this forward.