Wheelabrator Kemsley Generating Station (K3) and Wheelabrator Kemsley North (WKN) Waste to Energy Facility
Further clarification sought on the restructuring of the Environmental Statement relating to the Wheelabrator Kemsley Generating Station (K3) and Wheelabrator Kemsley North (WKN) Waste to Energy Facility application.
As previously discussed it is not appropriate for the Inspectorate to provide an opinion on the scope of the ES outside of the formal process for doing so, which is established in accordance with the EIA Regulations. On that basis and for the avoidance of doubt the information contained in this email is not a formal scoping opinion on which you can rely but is provided in accordance with s51 of the Planning Act 2008. At the meeting held on 19 June 2019 the Inspectorate explained that it would be necessary to ensure that the ES submitted with the application for Wheelabrator Kemsley (K3) and Wheelabrator Kemsley North (WKN) includes an assessment which robustly assesses the likely significant effects associated with the execution of powers included within the DCO. Due to the nuances of the PA2008 it is important that the application DCO includes powers to both construct and operate K3 even though in reality the construction of K3 is already underway and largely complete (albeit through consent under the Town and Country Planning Act (TCPA)). It is therefore necessary that the ES assesses the likely significant effects occurring during the construction (accepting that this will quite likely be a theoretical exercise) and the operation of K3 since they need to be examined and considered by the decision maker. You have suggested including the K3 2010 ES (as amended) as an assessment of the construction related significant effects for K3 and supplementing this assessment with the relevant additional aspects occurring in response to the EIA Regulations 2017. This appears to be a pragmatic approach and I note the reference to human health and climate change as being additional aspects not previously considered, you may also want/need to consider addressing the vulnerability of the proposed development to major accidents or disasters. I also understand that the DCO application may include powers to construct features associated with or ancillary to K3 and which were not included in the previous TCPA application, assuming this is the case the ES should assess any significant effects associated with such features again with reference to the theoretical baseline position. Your enquiry also proposes an approach to addressing what is (I appreciate) a tricky position with regard to environmental baseline for the purposes of the assessment. The Inspectorate has already advised that since the application requires the inclusion of powers to construct K3 it is necessary to include an assessment of the likely significant effects associated with that construction. The ES should therefore assess impacts that occur from a pre K3 baseline this would include the construction and operational effects associated with K3 operating at 75MW, however since the assessment must include the theoretical baseline prior to the TCPA consent the ES may also benefit from also including an assessment using the more representative operational baseline of K3 operating at 49.9MW. This would perhaps enable the examination and decision maker to focus on matters which may be considered of most relevance to those participating in the process. I appreciate that the approach is complicated and slightly irregular when compared with more traditional applications. I think the description of the development and overall approach to the assessment usually contained in the front end of the ES is probably of key importance since this will act to frame the approach and explain the structure of the assessment. On that basis we would be happy to have a look at those sections through our review of draft docs and provide comments and feedback as appropriate.