Southampton to London Pipeline Project
There is a consultation on-going re a proposed ESSO pipeline. I note that under the guidance Local Authorities have to be consulted before public consultation. According to the team at the exhibitions that would have included a Parish Council but not a local Neighbourhood Forum with an approved plan. Do you believe this as this a correct interpretation of your guidance.
Whilst the Inspectorate is unable to provide an interpretation on consultation guidance, I hope the following information is of assistance to you. The Applicant has a duty under Section 47 of the Planning Act 2008 to prepare a Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) and to conduct its consultation in line with that statement. However, before carrying out consultation, the Applicant is required to seek each Local Authority’s (LA) views on the contents of the SoCC. Paragraph 37 of Planning Act 2008: Guidance on the Pre-Application Process specifies: “In its role as a consultee on the Statement of Community Consultation, the local authority should focus on how the applicant should consult people in its area”. Further information on the role of the LA in the SoCC can be found in section 5 of the Inspectorate’s Advice Note 2. Paragraph 5.3 is particularly relevant, which specifies: “Local authorities are advised to think about the characteristics of the communities affected and may also wish to ask for input from parish or community councils to help inform the response provided to the developer”. I should explain that when an application is submitted for Examination, the Inspectorate will seek each LA’s views on the adequacy of the Applicant’s consultation. As such, at this stage in the process, I would suggest that you raise any concerns you have on this matter with the LA or with the Applicant directly.