I am looking for guidance on what role if any the applicant/developer has during the Examination stage of a DCO. For example are they present at all hearings and do they have a right to cross examine those giving evidence against the project?
Your guidance is silent on these matters and those of us opposing the Manston Airport DCO would welcome your advice please as we prepare for the Examination Stage.
The Applicant is an Interested Party. It is therefore afforded the same rights in the examination as anybody else who chooses to register an interest in the examination (by making a Relevant Representation) or who otherwise fall within the definitions in s102 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008). Interested Parties can attend and provide oral evidence at any hearings and provide written evidence to the appointed Examining Authority (ExA). Generally the Applicant will be in attendance at any hearings, but may not always choose to make oral representations.
The PA2008 sets out an inquisitorial approach to the examination of applications, both in writing and at hearings. At hearings in most cases it will be the appointed ExA that will ask questions of persons making oral representations. In certain circumstances the ExA may allow an Interested Party, or his/ her representative, to question a person making oral representations at a hearing (ie allow cross-examination). The ExA may do so where it considers that this is necessary to ensure the adequate testing of any representations, or where it considers that it is necessary to allow an Interested Party a fair chance to put their case.
For further information please see ‘Planning Act 2008: Guidance for the examination of applications for development consent’: attachment 1 and Advice note 8.4 and 8.5: attachment 2