What action has or will be taken to ensure that representations (from both sides) are above board and genuine? I sincerely have no problem with genuine representations opposed to the Airport – we live in a democracy and people are entitled to their opinion – provided it is genuine!
What constitutes a Relevant Representation is defined in s102 of the Planning Act 2008:
(4) A representation is a relevant representation for the purposes of subsection (1) to the extent that—
(a) it is a representation about the application,
(b) it is made to the [ Secretary of State ] in the prescribed form and manner,
(c) it is received by the [ Secretary of State ] no later than the deadline that applies under section 56 to the person making it,
(d) it contains material of a prescribed description, and
(e) it does not contain—
(i) material about compensation for compulsory acquisition of land or of an interest in or right over land,
(ii) material about the merits of policy set out in a national policy statement, or
(iii) material that is vexatious or frivolous.
It is not within the remit of the Planning Inspectorate to investigate the source of representations made. The inquisitorial nature of the Planning Act 2008 process means that Examining Authorities examine evidence through questioning. In the examination process, it is the relevance and importance of the issues which carry weight – not the volume of submissions received. On that basis duplicated representations (in support or objection to a Proposed Development) cannot serve to manipulate the decision-making process.