Local press reported on Monday that RSP has submitted its DCO application. The applicants are quoted as having provided some 10,500 pages, a figure also voiced by the local MP.
I note that the claimed total volume is nearly three times that provided for public consultation just a couple of months ago.
Whilst I appreciate that the application must include additional material (such as the report on the pre-application consultations and the draft Order paperwork) I am concerned that the applicants may have included information which was in fact reasonably required during the statutory pre-application consultation period to allow the public and consultation bodies to develop an informed view of the likely significant environmental effects of the proposed development and of the associated developments, as is demanded by law.
I have in mind, for example, information that was missing from the PEIR about major accidents management, the missing light pollution analysis (and link up with Thanet Earth), the missing analysis of impact on Ramsgate's heritage assets, the missing plans for the major recycling centre, the non compliant health impact analysis, and that is to say nothing of the gaps in the business analysis and the absence of a clear and consistent position on night flights.
It would be unfortunate if such material was available earlier this year but denied to the public. On the other hand, if it was not available this does seem to raise a question mark about the adequacy of the consultation.
The Acceptance stage
The application was submitted on 10 April 2018. Beginning on the day after it was submitted the Planning Inspectorate (on behalf of the Secretary of State) has 28 calendar days to decide whether the application can be accepted for examination.
The Acceptance decision must therefore be taken on or before 8 May 2018. The decision will be published on the project webpage, here: attachment 1
If the application is accepted, the following documents will also be published on the project webpage:
• The application documents submitted by RSP.
• Any Adequacy of Consultation Representations submitted by relevant local authorities.
• The Planning Inspectorate’s Acceptance Checklist.
The Acceptance tests
Section 55 of the Planning Act 2008 states what the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State, must have regard to when taking its decision about whether to accept an application:
a) The Consultation Report received with the application.
b) Any Adequacy of Consultation Representations received by the Planning Inspectorate from a local authority consultee.
c) The extent to which the Applicant has had regard to government guidance.
The Planning Act 2008 is available in full via our website, here: attachment 2
If you have sent comments about RSP’s Pre-application consultation, these can be considered in addition to the statutorily required Acceptance tests when making the decision about whether or not to accept the application. It will be for the decision maker (the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State) to decide the weight to give to the views expressed based on the individual facts of the case.
If you have sent comments about the merits of the Proposed Development (eg setting out support for or objection to the principle of the Proposed Development) these cannot be considered at the Acceptance stage. If the application is accepted for examination, in order to make comments about the merits of the Proposed Development to an appointed Examining Authority, you will need to register as an Interested Party by making a Relevant Representation at the appropriate time. For more information about how and when you can have your say, please see our Advice Note 8.2: How to register to participate in an Examination: attachment 3