Hinkley Point C New Nuclear Power Station
Should individual members of a Parish Council register as interested parties separately to ensure that each will have an opportunity to submit representations?
Under s102 of the Planning Act 2008, a Parish Council could become an interested party either by virtue of it being a statutory party, in which case the Council will automatically be an interested party following application acceptance, or because it has made a relevant representation.
If the Council is a statutory party and the application is accepted by the IPC you will, shortly after acceptance, receive written notification of this from the applicant. This notification will set out the deadline for receipt by the IPC of the Council's interest in or objection to the application.
If the Council does not receive this notification from the applicant then it would be necessary for the Council to complete a form on the IPC website in order register as an interested party and make a relevant representation by the deadline specified. It is only possible to do this after an application has been accepted by the Commission.
I attach below a link to IPC Advice Note 8 below which sets out our advice on how bodies and individuals can have their say to the IPC. Up to date information on the progress of applications and proposed applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects is available on the IPC's website.
As an interested party, the Council will be entitled to attend the preliminary meeting and any hearings held during the examination of the application. Any interested party can call for an open-floor hearing to be held, although the scheduling of any hearing is at the Examining authority's discretion.
Likewise, the Council would be entitled to submit written representations during the course of the examination within the relevant deadlines. For example, by the deadlines set by the Examining authority at or shortly following the preliminary meeting.
Who in the Council would be entitled to complete the registration form or make any other written representation on its behalf would be a matter for the Council to determine. We would suggest that any individual Member(s) (i.e. Parish Councillors) wishing to submit a substantially different representation from the Council register separately as an individual or part of another group.
Although the Council, as a body would be registered as the interested party, this does not mean, for example, that only the person completing or named in the registration form (e.g. the Clerk) would be able to make representations at a hearing. Any Council Member or Officer, at the discretion of the Examining authority, could potentially do so. Again, it would be for the Council to determine whether any particular individual has the requisite authority to make representations on its behalf or is giving evidence just in an individual capacity.