Mid Wales Electricity Connection (N Grid)

Enquiry received via post

Mid Wales Electricity Connection (N Grid)

13 May 2011
Sue Cullup-Smith

Enquiry

Letter received: I would like to object to the way National Grid have undertaken their consultation about the Mid Wales Connection Project.
Initially a mail shot was sent out that we never even noticed. Apparently it was entitled Project News Mid Wales and looked like junk mail. We presume we recycled ours without even reading it did not realise the significance it may have to where they live.
The initial mail shot was a crucially important item in the consultation because it contained all the information about how people can find out information, find out where the National Grid exhibitions will be and how to comment on the proposal. If the initial mail shot failed then the rest of the consultation is flawed as well.
The information in the brochure is nowhere near sufficient. It relies on people having access to the intenet. Not everyone does. The first thing anyone wants to know is ?how near will the pylons be to my house?? The map in the brochure is completely inadequate. For this you need to have access to the internet.
The feedback form for the consultation process is fundamentally flawed, and is heavily biased in favour of the Project: it does not ask whether we want/need the windfarms, sub-stations and pylons, but asks rather where we want them. It is a thinly veiled attempt to confuse, and to get people to say that they want it all elsewhere. The feedback form is divisive and encourages people to think selfishly. There is only very indirect reference to the possibility of putting the cable underground in any of the questions. This should have been a specific question.
At the exhibition itself we were lead to believe the windfarms were already built and that the routes now had to go ahead, whereas although there are some windfarms built, the necessity of these massive pylons are for the subsequent windfarms that have not yet been built to join the grid.
The feedback form has been designed to make it simple to put the information into a computer database and produce lots of charts and tables to make an impressive looking consultation report. Many important factors cannot be put in a numeric or data base friendly form. For example how do you put a value on the beauty of his valley?
It appears that the feedback form may have been designed only to give the appearance that a consultation has been carried out in order to satisfy the IPC and parliamentary committees who will give the final assent.

Advice given

This project is 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.
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. attachment 1
With the above in mind, may I therefore suggest that the queries set out in your email are raised directly with the promoter of the Mid Wales Connection scheme. 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;
attachment 2 .
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 3.
Once the pre-application consultation duties are complete, the developer may submit an application to the IPC. The IPC 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 IPC 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 IPC and the Secretary of State.
If an application is accepted for examination by the Infrastructure Planning Commission, you will have the opportunity 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 4


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