Rampion Offshore Wind Farm

Enquiry received via email

Rampion Offshore Wind Farm

05 August 2013
Alan Rayner


Hopefully, you will be willing to answer legitimate questions
arising - which I recognise may be published under s51.
Two arose from the PM (Preliminary Meeting).
a) Twineham Parish Council (foot of page 9 in PM report)
    raised the question of the status of individual members
    of groups or organisations registered as IPs. This was
    referred to "out-of-formal-PM" discussion!
    Can you state what decision was reached on this? How
    will the ExA recognise the bona fides of people wishing
    to submit material in the name of the group/organisation?
    Does the IP status of the group/organisation confer that
    status on any individual members or will they need to have
    registered as IPs individually in order to participate?
    I will need a fairly prompt answer on this so that I can
   advise groups in this area about who will need to register
   re Atlantic Array by 16th September.
b) A local authority raised the question of whether it was
    appropriate for them to enter into a SoCG PRIOR to the
    submission of their LIR. Again, this was referred to an
    "out-of-formal-PM" discussion!
   Can you state what decision was reached on this? Will a
   local authority need to meet an SoCG deadline earlier
   than their LIR deadline? If so, can they appeal to the ExA
   on the ground that this effectively requires the LIR to be
   ready at a date earlier than the one set out in the agenda?
   You will appreciate that there is likely to be a significant
   overlap between SoCG and LIR content - with the former,
   in effect, containing a joint critique of the latter. Thus logic
   would suggest that THIS SoCG should be finalised AFTER
   the applicant is aware of the LIR content and the reactions
   to it from the other IPs.
c) Finally, what are the criteria used by the ExA to decide that
    a matter shall not be determined within the PM - and what is
    the method for announcing any decisions made outside the
    formal meeting?

Advice given

In response to your first question concerning the question raised by Katherine Hirst of Twineham Parish Council, any interested party (ie those that have submitted a relevant representation, statutory consultees, and any party that is subject to compulsory acquisition) may make their views known to the Examining Authority. The Inspectorate encourages groups of individuals with similar interests in a project to coordinate representations to an examination and to this end community or resident groups often register to become an interested party on behalf of a number of local people. In addition if a local resident does not register as an interested party they may choose to have their views represented by an organisation; whether that organisation is a local interest group, Parish Council or an organisation of any other nature. It should be noted that the fact that their views are represented by an organisation does not grant the individual interested party status.
If there is the possibility that the views of an individual may diverge from those of the group that is representing them during the examination process, the individual may wish to register to become an interested party. There is only one opportunity for individuals to become an interested party and no opportunity to retrospectively register as an interested party once the registration period has ended. If somebody who was not an interested party wished to make representations to an examination this would be at the discretion of the Examining Authority who may or may not grant the request.
In regard to your second question, it is the nature of SoCG that they are continuously evolving documents, and discussions between parties will often continue through the pre-application stage, and on through the acceptance, pre-examination and examination stages. It will also often be the case that this is an iterative process, with a document going through several versions. This is reflected in the examination process by the fact that there is a deadline on Thursday 5 December (Deadline X in the timetable) for the submission of ?Final Statements of Common Ground?. Therefore if the SoCG needs to be amended as a result of the LIR or as a result of the comments of other parties, that new version can be submitted on this deadline.
In answer to your final question, there is no set criteria for determining which questions can be answered at the Preliminary Meeting, it is at the Examining Authority?s discretion. However as a general guideline, the purpose of the Preliminary Meeting is for the Examining Authority to probe the parties in order to assist the formation of their views on the agenda items such as the examination timetable and list of principal issues. Therefore any questions directed at the Examining Authority are likely to be answered after the meeting by way of written advice, or verbal discussion. Any advice about how to make a representation about an application will be published to our website under s51 of the Planning Act 2008. Any formal procedural decisions of the Examining Authority are announced by letter, distributed to all interested parties, and made available on our website and in local deposit locations.