Glossary of terms

The process for applying for a Development Consent Order is a legal process governed by the Planning Act 2008 and related legislation. We are committed to ensuring that we make this process as inclusive as possible. We have tried to use everyday language wherever possible on the Website, but we may also refer to a number of terms which are used in the Planning Act 2008 and related legislation. Our Customer Services Team (0303 444 5000) can advise on terms that are not covered in this glossary.

Affected Person

A Development Consent Order can include powers for an applicant to acquire land and rights compulsorily. A person is an Affected Person if an applicant, after making diligent inquiry, knows that the person is interested in the land to which a Compulsory Acquisition request relates. If you are an Affected Person, you are automatically an Interested Party for the purposes of an Examination

Application

This refers to an applicant’s application for a Development Consent Order. An application consists of a series of documents and plans which are published on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

Compulsory Acquisition Hearing

These must take place at the request of an Affected Person. Only Affected Persons, and the Applicant, have the right to request and be heard at a Compulsory Acquisition Hearing. At any hearings, the Examining Authority will manage the proceedings and may set a time limit for contributions to ensure fairness to all participants. For further information see Advice Note 8.5: The Examination: hearings and site inspections.

Development Consent Order (DCO)

This is a statutory order which provides consent for the project and means that a range of other consents, such as planning permission and listed building consent, will not be required. A DCO can also include provisions authorising the Compulsory Acquisition of land or of interests in or rights over land which is the subject of an application. A draft DCO is submitted by applicants with every application.

Examination

This is the formal, legal process governed by the Planning Act 2008 and related legislation. The Examination stage starts the day after the Preliminary Meeting has been closed and can last up to six months. For further information see Advice Note 8.4: The Examination.

Examining Authority

The Examining Authority is the Inspector or the Panel of Inspectors appointed to conduct the Examination of the application.

Interest

This means a legal interest that a person has in the land affected by a Development Consent Order; for example where a person owns, leases, rents, or occupies the land or has some other legal right over or in relation to it.

Interested Party

Interested Parties may participate in the examination of the application and will receive formal notifications as the Examination progresses. Some people and organisations are automatically Interested Parties and don’t need to register to become an Interested Party. Other people and organisations must register to become an Interested Party by making a Relevant Representation to the Planning Inspectorate at the appropriate time and before the specified deadline. For further information see Advice Note 8.2: How to register to take part in an Examination.

Issue Specific Hearing

A hearing or hearings on specific issue(s) may be held if the Examining Authority considers it necessary to ensure adequate examination of the issue or ensure that an Interested Party has a fair chance to put their case. For further information see Advice Note 8.5: The Examination: hearings and site inspections.

Open Floor Hearing

An Open Floor Hearing must be held if requested by an Interested Party or if the Examining Authority considers it necessary. Anyone who is an Interested Party may request an Open Floor Hearing. For further information see Advice Note 8.5: The Examination: hearings and site inspections.

Oral Representation

This is the term used to describe the opportunity to speak in person at a hearing. Any Oral Representation should be based on either the Relevant Representation or Written Representation made by the person by whom or on whose behalf the Oral Representation is made. You do not have to make an Oral Representation if you consider that all the points you wish to make have been made in your Relevant Representation or in any Written Representation you make, or have been adequately made by another Interested Party.

While the Examining Authority does have some discretion to accept Oral Representations even from people who have not submitted a valid Relevant Representation, this should not be relied upon.

Preliminary Meeting

This is a procedural meeting held after the deadline for making a Relevant Representation has passed and once the Examining Authority has made its Initial Assessment of Principal Issues after consideration of the application documents and the Relevant Representations received. All Interested Parties will receive a notification in advance of the Preliminary Meeting setting out a draft timetable for the Examination including any proposed hearing(s). The meeting, chaired by the Examining Authority, considers how the application will be examined, for example identifying the main issues and the timetable for the Examination. The merits of the project are not explored at the meeting. For further information see Advice Note 8.3: Influencing how an application is Examined: the Preliminary Meeting.

Project

This is the Proposed Development, such as a power station, offshore wind farm, section of railway, road, or electricity line for which development consent is being sought in the application.

Relevant compensation claim

Broadly such claims can be made by persons or organisations whose land or whose rights in land could be affected by the Proposed Development. Their land or rights may not be subject to Compulsory Acquisition powers sought in the application or indeed be within the land to which the application relates, but they may have a right to compensation under either Part 1 of the Land Compensation Act 1973, s10 of the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965, or s152 of the Planning Act 2008, if their land or interest is affected by the Proposed Development.

Relevant Representation

A Relevant Representation is, amongst other things, a summary of the aspects of the application a person agrees and/ or disagrees with and their reasons why. To be valid it must be:

  • made on time;
  • made on the correct form – the ‘Registration and Relevant Representation’ form; and
  • be complete (ie with all mandatory fields correctly filled in).

The Examining Authority will read all valid Relevant Representations and each will form part of the evidence considered during the Examination. For further information see Advice Note 8.2: How to register to take part in an Examination.

Representation

This outlines what a person agrees and/ or disagrees with in the application. The Planning Act 2008 refers to three types of representation Relevant Representations, Written Representations and Oral Representations.

Written representation

This is a more detailed written account of what an Interested Party agrees and/ or disagrees with in the application, together with any evidence or documents to support this. It is an opportunity to expand on the issues an Interested Party has set out in their Relevant Representation. Interested Parties do not have to submit a Written Representation if they consider that all the points they wish to make have been made in their Relevant Representation, or have been adequately made by another Interested Party.

While the Examining Authority does have some discretion to accept Written Representations even from people who have not submitted a valid Relevant Representation, this should not be relied upon.