Medworth Energy from Waste Combined Heat and Power Facility
Dear Secretary of State Re: Medworth Energy from Waste Combined Heat and Power Facility attachment 1 With the present health crisis caused by the Coronavirus pandemic all planned public consultations and community events regarding the application to build a vast incinerator in the small market town of Wisbech have been cancelled until further notice. There is significant public objection to this project and it is essential for the community to be able to meet with the Applicant and to challenge their many claims. attachment 2 attachment 3 The claim by the Applicant and by staff at the Inspectorate that public consultations can continue online via emails may seem reasonable in these unprecedented times but is, nevertheless, totally inappropriate for this community. Large numbers of residents in Wisbech and the surrounding villages do not use the internet, therefore the community do not accept email communication as being a ‘public consultation’ when many residents are prohibited from taking part. All concerned are very aware of the legislation that has permitted the creation of commercial incinerators in the UK, at a time when not enough evidence was known regarding the possible preventable harm and negative health implications that could be created by burning plastic and other waste materials. Therefore, given the unprecedented circumstances where the community are effectively housebound, and no community event can take place, please consider an exception to the legislation by postponing the public consultations and the eventual decision regarding this project for at least three months, or until such times as the government have deemed that public meetings and community events can safely be held. Thank you for your time. Mo Stewart Retired healthcare professional Resident of Wisbech
Dear Ms Stewart, Thank you for your email of 1 April 2020 expressing concerns about the adequacy of consultation in the current unprecedented public health situation. Please accept our sincere apologies for the delay in replying. The proposed application by MWV Environment Ltd is at the Pre-application stage of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) process. Therefore, the Planning Inspectorate is unable to consider representations about the merits of any application until it is accepted for Examination. The Planning Inspectorate also does not have the power to intervene in a developer’s pre-application programme. The process for applying for a Development Consent Order (DCO) is set out in the PA2008. The timing of the application’s programme is at the discretion of the Applicant. The Developer is currently carrying out their first round of non-statutory consultation. Further rounds of consultation will take place and the Developer will advertise these before they are due to commence. Therefore, I would encourage you to contact the developer directly with regard to your concerns. The developer has a statutory duty to have regard to all consultation responses received and this should be demonstrated in the Consultation Report as part of their DCO application. However, if you feel your comments are not being taken into account, I would advise you to write to your local authority and set out why you think the Applicant is failing to conduct its consultation properly. Your comments should be taken into account when the local authority sends the Inspectorate its comments on whether the Applicant has fulfilled its consultation duties. The local authority’s comments on the Applicant’s consultation will be taken into account when the Acceptance Inspector makes their decision whether to accept the application for Examination. Should the DCO application be accepted by the Inspectorate for Examination, the Applicant has a duty to notify the local community when providing information on how to register as an Interested Party for the purpose of the process. The process under the PA2008 has been designed to allow members of the public and statutory stakeholders to participate in examination of all DCO applications so that anyone interested in the proposed developments, their potential impacts and any relevant matters can be fully engaged in the examination process. Once the Examination begins, the Examining Authority will assess all information submitted in the application documents and will consider whether the Applicant has provided the necessary level of information. The Planning Inspectorate has produced several Advice Notes to help provide an overview of the PA2008 process and the opportunities to get involved. They are available at the following link: attachment 4 The following are particularly relevant; Advice Note 8: ‘Overview of the nationally significant infrastructure planning process for members of the public and others’. Advice Note 8.1: ‘Responding to the developer’s pre-application consultation’ Advice Note 8.2: ‘How to register to participate in an Examination’. Please be assured that anyone interested in the proposed development, the potential impacts and any planning matters can be fully engaged in the examination process. A copy of your correspondence has been placed on our records and will be presented to the Inspector at Acceptance together with the application documents and Local Authorities’ comments on the Applicant’s consultation. With regard to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, please refer to the Planning Inspectorate’s published guidance which will be updated as the situation develops. attachment 5 We have also published a Frequently Asked Questions document regarding Pre-application consultation and this can be viewed on our website here: attachment 6 Please note, in accordance with Section 51 of the PA2008, a summary of your query and our advice will be published on the project’s webpage of the National Infrastructure Website. I hope you find the above information useful.