Mid Wales Electricity Connection (N Grid)

Enquiry received via email

Mid Wales Electricity Connection (N Grid)

24 May 2011
David Ward

Enquiry

Should this development be referred to you I would like the following matters to be taken into account:
1. The alternative routes focus on the Parish of Knockin, and its associated hamlet, Osbaston. National Grid have carried out no consultation apart from a postal questionnaire with the residents of this Parish, who have had to travel to other locations to gain additional information and make their views known. That is inadequate.
2. The Policy which is driving this development is TAN8 of the Welsh Assembly. Residents of this part of Shropshire are directly affected by this policy. We have not been consulted on its adoption, nor do we have any democratic influence through the ballot box or representation on the Welsh Assembly. That is unjust.
3. There appears to have been no requirement or attempt at an Environmental Assessment of the development as a whole ? the wind farms and the associated infrastructure of sub stations and transmission lines. It has been shown that taken together these developments would not satisfy Government policy to achieve a reduction in anthropogenic carbon emissions. Any decision taken in isolation from overall assessment would be flawed, and susceptible to challenge.

Advice given

The National Grid Mid Wales Connections schemes are currently at the 'pre-application' stage of our process, as set out in the Planning Act 2008. During the pre-application stage, there is a duty on the developer to undertake consultation with people living in the vicinity of the proposed project, and to have regard to responses to that consultation. In order for comments to be taken into account at this stage, comments and responses should be directed to National Grid as the developer of the project  in Shropshire.
The IPC's role at the pre-application stage is to provide advice about the process of making an application, or the process of making a representation about an application. Whilst we are happy to be copied in on any comments you make to the developer, we are unable to provide legal opinions or comment on the merits of the scheme or national policy. This ensures the impartiality of the IPC and protects the interests of all parties involved in the application process. All advice that we give is recorded via an advice log, in line with s.51 of the Planning Act 2008. This log is published on our website. 
With the above in mind, may I therefore suggest that the queries set out in your letter are raised directly with the promoter of the Mid Wales Connection scheme where appropriate. The National Grid project team can be contacted on 0800 019 5325 or by email at national [email protected] 
There is also a project website;
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 Your local council also plays a role in the process at the pre-application stage and we would encourage you to copy to the council any comments you send to the developer at the pre-application stage. Further information on this and how you can be involved in the developers? consultation is detailed in advice note 8.2, this can be found at: attachment 2
 Once the pre-application consultation duties are complete, the developer may submit an application to the Commission. The Commission has 28 days to decide whether to accept the application to proceed to the examination stage. This decision is based on whether, amongst other matters, the pre-application consultation has been adequate. When making a decision on whether the pre-application consultation has been adequate, the Commission will have regard to:
National Grid?s consultation report;
Any comments on the adequacy of consultation submitted by relevant Local Authorities; and
The extent to which National Grid have followed the guidance published by the Commission and the Secretary of State.
If an application is accepted for examination by the Infrastructure Planning Commission, you are able to become directly involved in the examination of an application. A suite of advice notes has been published providing information on how and when members of the public can become involved in the planning process and have their say. In particular, advice note 8.3 provides information on how to register and make a written representation. This can be found at: attachment 3
 
With regard to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), it is likely that the development will require EIA. The EIA Regulations 2009 impose procedural requirements for carrying out EIA on certain NSIP proposals. For example, NSIPs such as nuclear power stations always require EIA. Other NSIPs, such as wind farms, only require EIA if they are likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of their nature, size or location.  Schedule 4, Part 1 of the EIA Regulations 2009 requires 'A description of the likely significant effects of the development on the environment, which should cover the direct effects and any indirect, secondary, cumulative, short, medium and longterm, permanent and temporary, positive and negative effects of the development, resulting from:
(a) the existence of the development;
(b) the use of natural resources;
(c) the emission of pollutants, the creation of nuisances and the elimination of waste,
and the description by the applicant of the forecasting methods used to assess the effects on the  environment. 
The EIA Regulations 2009 can be found at the following address:  http://infrastructure.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/uksi_20092263_en.pdf
 The role of the IPC under the EIA Regulations 2009 includes:
?Screening? proposals to determine whether they are EIA Developments ; 
?Scoping? proposals to advise the applicant what information should be provided within the Environmental Statement (ES) ? this involves seeking views from ?consultation bodies?;  
Facilitating the preparation of environmental statements by notifying consultation bodies about their duty to provide information and  informing the applicant ;
Evaluating environmental information in the ES and any representations made about the environmental effects before making a decision;    
Publicising the IPC?s screening and scoping opinions . 
Publicising any decision (whether made by the IPC or the Secretary of State) in relation to an application which has been accompanied by an ES. 
Further information on EIA and the IPC can be found at:
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