Triton Knoll Electrical System

Enquiry received via email

Triton Knoll Electrical System

24 December 2014
Kim Gauld-Clark RWE


The applicant asked questions on the following matters:
Question 1 ? submission date of 24 April and purdah implications
Question 2 ? any implications if the Triton Knoll Electrical System DCO was an OFTO SPV and not Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm Limited
Question 3 ? European protected species and consultation with Natural England
Question 4 ? Approach to access strips
Question 5 - Plans

Advice given

Question 1 ? submission date of 24 April and purdah implications?
The submission date of 24 April does not cause any problems for the Planning Inspectorate regarding purdah, however it would be extremely helpful if we received the application in the morning on this date, so that we can start work before the weekend.
We would strongly advise you to inform the local authorities (the A,B,C and D authorities) of your submission date. You may also wish to inform the local authorities that during acceptance stages, the Planning Inspectorate requests any ?adequacy of consultation responses? to be submitted within 14 calendar days. For a submission date of 24 April, the deadline for these responses is likely to be 8th May, this is the day after the general election.
Question 2 ? any implications if the Triton Knoll Electrical System DCO was an OFTO SPV and not Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm Limited?
We would advise you to inform relevant consultees/parties of the change and formally write to the Planning Inspectorate to inform us. Your consultation report should also include an explanation.
Question 3 ? European protected species and consultation with Natural England
We note that there are 11 ponds with potential to support great crested newts which you have been unable to access to date but have committed to surveying at the pre-construction phase. As discussed in the meeting, the Planning Inspectorate would reiterate the front loaded nature of the Planning Act 2008 and the need to ensure that sufficient information is provided within the Environmental Statement at the time of application. To this end, it would be useful for you to obtain and provide evidence of confirmation from Natural England that sufficient survey effort has been undertaken in the pre-application stage. The Planning Inspectorate encourages you to consider the risks of not being able to access survey areas during the pre-construction stage, and whether you would be able to implement mitigation measures in areas not included in the DCO application boundary, should presence be confirmed by pre-construction surveys.
In our last meeting, we briefly touched on section 53 authorisation for access to land for pre-construction surveys in March 2016 (possibly September 2015 if geophysical surveys are required). We did not discuss in detail what the surveys would comprise, however from the information we understand the surveys will be required to confirm the presence/absence of bats and great crested newts; we would appreciate confirmation of what surveys are likely to be required. As you are aware, any application will be determined by the Secretary of State on its merits once submitted. Please let us know if you would like us to provide any additional advice to you on the use of these powers during the examination stage.
Question 4 ? Approach to access strips:
We are keen to work with you to ensure that this information is presented and, if necessary, assessed in a robust way in your ES. At this stage we consider we need further details in order to provide meaningful advice on this matter and are interested to know more about the baseline conditions of the access strips and the proposed activities on them. We consider the most useful way to provide advice would be to review the relevant sections of the draft ES ?Project Description? chapter and draft ES ?Approach to EIA? chapter that you refer to above; this is a service we have provided for other NSIPs.
We note that the strips will be used solely to access the cable corridor, and that some are existing access tracks and some are adjacent to existing field boundaries. It would be useful to understand whether any works would be required on the access strips to create and maintain them i.e. removal of hedgerows, pruning of trees, adjustments of existing highways, and whether there is the potential for land owners to impose any seasonal restrictions on their use? We are also interested to know whether the phase 1 habitat survey covered the access strips.
As always, we encourage on-going consultation on EIA methodology and assessment and were wondering whether you have consulted upon your proposed approach with any consultees, for example Natural England?
It would also be useful if you could confirm whether the access strips would be subject to compulsory acquisition powers.
Question 5 ? Plans:
It is normal practice for draft DCOs to include grid coordinates for the offshore development seaward of MHWS.
In regard to centre lines, please can you confirm if your works plans and draft DCO will include limits of deviation?
How appropriate [it would be to identify Public Right of Way (PROW) diversion ?zones? as opposed to identifying the exact PROW to be diverted] depends upon the scale/size of the diversion zones.
Most (if not all) submitted applications have provided the information required in regulations 5(2)(j) and (k) of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009, on separate plans. The level of detail and information to be included in both sets of plans is likely to make it illegible if combining. We are happy to discuss this further if required.