The Sizewell C Project
Dear Michele, In these days of crisis with Covid 19 I am very concerned with the situation that may occur concerning the NSIP EDF Energy proposal for Sizewell C. We have been told locally that EDFE are considering putting in their DCO to PINs in the near future ( before the end of March 2020) I am aware that it is entirely in the hands of the Developer as to the timing of their application. However we have received notification that the SZC Community Forum has been cancelled for obvious reasons therefore there will be no opportunity to ask final questions of the EDFE Team before the DCO is submitted. Nor the ability to give people any information as to how the DCO process will work neither will they be instructed as to how to be involved with the DCO process. Which I understood was part of the Consultation process. Understanding the present situation brings into question how can the democratic process work if EDFE decide to put in their DCO, when the Country is dealing with such difficulties. Local Authorities large and small and Regulators are all under pressure such as ability to travel, lack of staff and time scales and the involvement with so many difficult urgent matters. How will members of the public be notified if EDFE decide to submit their DCO for SZC in the present climate ? What measures will be undertaken to ensure democracy is complied with? Does PINS have the ability to suspend any procedure on EDFE DCO until such time as the Covid 19 situation is resolved? I note with interest that the EA1North and EA2 Wind Farms NSIP Planning Examinations have been suspended. Will the same criterion apply to any new NSIP Application? Yours Sincerely Joan Girling
Dear Joan Girling Thank you for your email. The process for applying for a Development Consent Order (DCO) is set out in the Planning Act 2008. As you are aware the timing of the application is at the discretion of the Developer. Whilst we are aware that the latest Sizewell C Community Forum meeting has been cancelled please note that the National Infrastructure Planning website provides a significant amount of information about the DCO process and how parties can get involved. Advice Note Eight provides an overview followed by five sections which take you step by step through the planning process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects: attachment 1 The Planning Inspectorate has produced a series of short films explaining the process and how parties can take part: attachment 2 For information that is specific to the Sizewell C project there is a project page on the National Infrastructure Planning website: attachment 3 The project page will be updated when the application is received and when the decision on whether or not to accept the application for Examination is made. It is important to note that when an Applicant submits an application for development consent to the Planning Inspectorate that there then follows a period of up to 28 days for the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State, to decide whether or not the application meets the standards required to be accepted for Examination. The standards are set out in Section 55 of the Planning Act 2008 (as amended) and Regulations 5 and 6 of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009. All parties are encouraged to sign up for Email Updates using the button on the project page or via the link below: attachment 4 Email Updates will enable parties to observe what’s happening on the application after it has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. Should the application be accepted for Examination, it is important to note that if parties then wish to participate in the Examination they would need to register as an Interested Party at the appropriate time during the Pre-examination stage. If parties have signed up for the Email Updates they will receive a prompt when the registration period opens (the Relevant Representation period). For further information about registering as an Interested Party please see ‘Advice Note 8.2: How to register to participate in an Examination’. The Advice Note explains that if the Planning Inspectorate decides to accept an application for Examination, it will then be the Applicant’s duty to advertise the Relevant Representation period and provide details about how to register to become an Interested Party. Finally, 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 I hope you find the above information helpful.