The enquirer expressed concern about the Applicant's Pre-application community consultation. The Applicant had provided contradictory information about the potential for night flights.
There is also no mechanism through which the Planning Inspectorate can influence an Applicant’s consultation at the Pre-application stage of the PA2008 process.
I note that you have copied your comments to the Applicant and your local authority. These are the correct channels for making comments about an application at the Pre-application stage of the process.
Local authorities have a special role in the PA2008 process, which I explain in the content of this advice.
The PA2008 places a number of duties on Applicants in respect of Pre-application consultation and all applications for development consent must be accompanied by a ‘Consultation Report’. The Consultation Report is prepared under section 37 of the PA2008 and must give details of:
a) what has been done in compliance with sections 42, 47 and 48 of the PA2008 in relation to an application;
b) any relevant responses; and
c) the account taken of any relevant responses.
In the Acceptance period (ie the 28 days following the formal submission of an application) the Planning Inspectorate will scrutinise all of the application documents, including the evidence provided in the Consultation Report, applying the statutory tests set out in s55 of the PA2008. By the end of the Acceptance period the Planning Inspectorate (on behalf of the Secretary of State) must decide, in accordance with the tests in s55 of the PA2008, whether or not an application is of a satisfactory standard to be examined.
In reaching the above decision, s55(4) makes explicit that the Planning Inspectorate must have regard to the Consultation Report and any Adequacy of Consultation Representations made by local authority consultees. Adequacy of Consultation Representations are defined by s55(5) of the PA2008 as representations about whether the applicant complied with its duties under sections 42, 47 and 48. They are requested from all relevant local authorities on receipt of an application for development consent.
To that end, in providing your comments to your local authority they may be considered in the Council’s preparation of its Adequacy of Consultation Representation; if an application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.
In respect of night flights, the Planning Inspectorate has access to the same information as the local community and statutory consultees ie the Applicant’s Scoping Report states at paragraph 11.6.10 that “The airport will be operational during the day and may be operational to some extent at night. The noise generated due to this activity may give rise to potentially significant effects”. If night flights are proposed for the airport, the likely significant effects will need to be assessed by the Applicant as part of its Environmental Impact Assessment and presented in the Environmental Statement.