Query regarding on what grounds it is possible to object to an application, specifically the following points:
1. Is it legitimate, as a ground of objection, to challenge the development's suitability on the basis that it will not in fact make the stated contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions; that it may not make any contribution at all; and that, in certain circumstances that depend upon the mix of installed capacity supplying the grid and the demand pattern and the weather, it may in fact cause a net increase by substitution in the nation's CO2 emissions?
Comment: There is evidence that wind farms either diminish national CO2 emissions by a very small amount or increase them, depending upon the operating conditions. In my submission, challenging this development on this ground does not question the merits of the Government's policy: but it does question the extent to which the development makes a useful contribution to the achievement of the policy. I should be grateful to know whether the Inspectorate concurs.
2. Is it legitimate, as a ground of objection, to challenge the development's suitability on the basis that the project's unit mitigation cost in US$ per Kelvin of global warming likely to be abated is excessive in comparison with the unit mitigation cost of other actual or potential methods of attempting to abate CO2-driven global warming?
Comment: Again, the challenge is not to the emissions-reduction policy itself but to the cost of this development when compared with the cost of other available methods of reducing the nation's CO2 emissions. If I were to challenge the proposal on this ground, would the inspectorate dismiss the challenge a priori on the basis that it regards this challenge as a challenge to the policy?
3. Is it legitimate, as a ground of objection, to draw attention to misleading statements or diagrams by the developers?
Comment: This question does not relate to "the merits of policy" at all, but to the merits of the application. There are a number of points that appear to be misleading in the application. Am I allowed to challenge the application on this basis?
4. Is it legitimate, as a ground of objection, to raise questions about whether the Government's overarching CO2 reduction objective is still in date and appropriate, given emerging science and data demonstrating - for instance - that the planet has been warming since 1990 at half the rate predicted by the IPCC, that in the past two decades it has not been warming at a rate at all distinguishable from the measurement uncertainties, and that for theoretical as well as empirical reasons it is not now likely to warm at anything like the previously-predicted rates?
Comment: Here, I am indeed proposing to challenge "the merits of policy" - but to do so not on the basis that the policy was incorrect at the time it was made, but on the basis that it has arguably become incorrect since it was made, in the light of the further scientific information and data that were not then available but are available now. One understands that if the facts and data had not changed it would not be appropriate for an objector to second-guess Parliament's policy decisions. However, now that the facts and data have indeed changed, am I debarred from objecting on the ground that the policy is now out of date?
5. Is it legitimate, as a ground of objection, to draw attention to the evidence that the supposed "97% consensus" to the effect that most of the small global wamring since 1950 was manmade is in fact 0.5%, and that Ministers and MPs who have referred to a "97% consensus" may have taken their decisions to enact the current overarching policy objectives on the basis of information such as this that has subsequently been demonstrated in the scientific literature to be false, and which (in this instance) is the subject of criminal enquiries on three continents?
Comment: This is one of the many points at which the facts and data have changed. It was previously thought, and the Secretary of State also said he thought, that there was a 97% consensus that most of the small global warming since 1950 was anthropogenic. However, the facts no longer support any such contention. Is it, therefore, permissible for me to bring these facts to the attention of the Secretary of State via my objection to this proposal, so that whatever the merits of the original policy he can consider whether the policy ought to be persisted in?
6. Is it legitimate, as a ground of objection, to draw attention to the fact that the very large subsidies available for CO2 mitigation constitute in effect a money-laundering scheme for funding major political parties (on all sides of the aisle) by favouring developers who are then expected, via various subterfuges, to recycle a substantial fraction of the subsidies to the parties in donations or in profitable directorships for Members of Parliament?
Comment: If the policy was in substance motivated by the prospect of financial gain for political parties rather than for any discernible environmental objective, is it permissible, in an objection, to indicate the scale of the contributions to political parties from those who have benefited from the very large subsidies that are now available?
In asking these questions of you, I am not asking for any indication of whether the inspectorate thinks my proposed grounds of objection are meritorious in se. I am asking, on purely procedural grounds, which of the grounds of objection identified in the questions would be regarded as a valid ground on which an objection might be made (without regard to the merits of that ground at this stage). I do hope, therefore, that you will be able to give me an early answer on each of these six points.
As you have already made a relevant representation there is no need for you to submit any further representations before the closing date of 23 June 2014 (unless you would like to do so). If you do wish to make further representations by the deadline, these will be added to the representation that you have already made. Please note that as you have already registered as an Interested Party there will be further opportunities to submit information to us once the examination has started.
Regarding the specific questions that you have raised, the Inspectorate cannot advise you further on the content of the points raised. I would advise you to submit all of the comments that you wish to make about the application at this stage so that they can be put before the Examining Authority when appointed. It will be for the Examining Authority to decide what regard to have to the comments submitted, as relevant representations, during examination of the application and when making a recommendation to the Secretary of State who will decide the application.
If you feel you require legal advice on this matter please seek this independently. The Planning Inspectorate is unable to provide you with legal advice or to pre-judge what an Examining Authority?s views may be on any representation received.
I attach links to our Advice Note 8 series which may be of assistance to you:
Advice note 8.1: How the process works
Advice note 8.2: Responding to the developer?s pre-application consultation
Advice note 8.3: How to register and become an interested party in an application
Advice note 8.4: Influencing how an application will be examined ? the Preliminary Meeting
Advice note 8.5: Participating in the examination
06 June 2014