North Wales Connection
Various enquiries by email from Jonathan Dean concerning the scoping opinion
Advice given by email on 30 August 2018:
Enquiry 1: The environmental impact assessment shall identify, describe and assess in an appropriate manner, in the light of each individual case, the direct and indirect significant effects of a project on ... (d) material assets". "material assets" would include property? Please advise if I have interpreted this correctly.
Response: The Inspectorate is unable to provide advice on the interpretation of legislation.
Enquiry 2: Can I make a suggestion to improve the planning process. Before the scope of the Environmental Statement is locked down, the public should be consulted;
Response: The scoping process is governed by the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017. As part of the process the Inspectorate, on behalf of the SoS, is required to consult with the consultation bodies as defined in the regulations. There is no requirement to consult with the public.
Enquiry 3: Is there a process to challenge the scope? If so, I would think it is better to do this before the DCO is submitted so Grid have an opportunity to respond.
Response: The Scoping Opinion is the SoS’s opinion as to the scope, and level of detail, of the information to be provided in the Environmental Statement. There is no process to challenge the SoS’s opinion. Should you have any views on the proposed assessment scope we suggest you contact the Applicant directly.
Enquiry 4: Impact on property value.
Response: It is for the Applicant to interpret the content of the SoS’s Scoping Opinion and undertake the assessment accordingly.
Enquiry 5: I understand from BEIS that the Scoping Opinion is in fact the work of PINS rather than the SoS. Is there not a potential conflict of interest?
Response: The Scoping Opinion is issued by the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The decision whether to grant development consent for an energy project is made by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.