North Wales Connection

Enquiry received via email

North Wales Connection

06 October 2016
Hannah Huws

Enquiry

Confirmation sought about whether the National Grid's attempt to exclude EMFs from the scope of the Environmental Statement has been decided.
Query about the status of HM Government Code of Practice on Consultation (2008) in relation to National Grid's pre application duties.

Advice given

We can confirm that the scoping opinion in relation to the North wales Connection project by National Grid was published on behalf of the Secretary of State, on 1 June 2016. The Scoping Opinion is available on the relevant project page of the National Infrastructure Planning website. The response, in relation to the request to scope out EMF, is at paragraphs 3.50 -3.51. The Secretary of State did agree to scope this out from the Environmental Statement, “on the basis that evidence is provided demonstrating that the specifications for the overhead line, SECs and underground cable (including tunnel head housing) comply with regulatory thresholds”. The applicant has proposed to include a separate EMF document with the DCO application to satisfy the requirements of the National Policy Statement (EN-5) and this will include evaluations of the EMFs, but it will not be part of the ES.
The Code of Practice on Consultation, published by HM Government in July 2008 sets out some general principles that the Government will follow in consulting on policy formulation. It is most relevant to how the Government consults on National Policy Statements, the legislation relevant to that is in s7 of the Planning Act 2008. This provision gives the Secretary of State a discretionary power to conduct public consultation on new or reviewed national policy statements.
The application of the Code of Practice, in terms of what a developer might do to satisfy its pre application duties in relation to a NSIP, is limited. However, it does set down some high level best practice advice that may be applicable in a general sense, to any consultation. The main focus for measuring the quality and compliance aspects of the developer’s public (community) consultation is the Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC). The legislative requirement that is applicable to how the community consultation should be arranged and conducted by a developer is set down in s47 of the Planning Act 2008.
If you have any views about the pre application consultation carried out by National Grid, in particular whether or not NG meets the standards in its published SoCC, then please forward these on to Gwynedd and Anglesey Councils for them to consider in the context of preparing their adequacy of consultation representation. We will ask them for this as soon as we receive an application and we will have regard to any views the Councils put forward during the acceptance stage of the process.