North Wales Wind Farms Connection

Enquiry received via email

North Wales Wind Farms Connection

30 March 2015
Alys Owen


I wish to complain against SPEN 's conduct of the pre-application consultation for the North Wales Wind FArms Connection. The process failed to consult adequately and it did not have due regard to consultees' responses to earlier stages of the consultation and had misleading information. I believe it was flawed and therefore not valid.
Following stage 1 of the consultation and according to SPEN 's figures, the majority of respondents favoured the Blue Route and the Green route was the least favoured. Despite this the north section of the Green route was selected as the 'preferred route corridor' for stages 2 and 3 of the consultation.
They 'Hafod route' appeared in the stage 3 consultation, , and appeared as SPEN's preferred option. But this route was based on feedback given by just 3 consultees in the stage 2 consultation. This compares with 14 respondents to have the the (green corridor as their preference, 29 preferred the Red,and 85 preferred the Blue.
At no point were consultees asked to comment or suggest alternative route outside these corridors, yet by selecting the Hafod route as the preferred route SPEN accepted a route outside the scope of stages 1 and 2. Introducing the Hafod Route for the first time at stage 3 SPEN has contravened its own Routeing Methodology.
I hope you will investigate this complaint regarding the flaws, misrepresentation and errors of SPEN's pre application consultation regarding the connections of the North WAles wind farms.

Advice given

Thank you for your email in relation to the proposed North Wales Wind Farms Connection. You have written to us to express concerns about the developer?s pre-application consultation for this project.
The Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, makes the decision about whether or not to accept an application for examination. The Secretary of State has 28 days from the date of submission on 20 March 2015 to decide whether the application meets the required standards to proceed to examination. This will include an assessment of whether the applicant has complied with all the relevant pre-application procedures including having regard to consultation responses.
The requirements that must be satisfied in order for an application to be accepted for examination are set out in s55 of the Planning Aact 2008. S55(4) of PA 2008 states that in making its decision about whether or not to accept an application the Secretary of State must have regard to (amongst other things) any adequacy of consultation representation received from a local authority consultee. For this reason, once an application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, we invite the host and neighbouring local authorities to submit a representation about whether the applicant has complied with its duties under sections 42, 47 and 48 of the PA 2008. Under the legislation there is no provision for parties other than the relevant local authorities to make adequacy of consultation representations to the Planning Inspectorate. You may wish to send your email to the local authorities to allow them to incorporate your view into their adequacy of consultation representation.
As you have submitted representations directly to the Planning Inspectorate about the developer?s pre-application consultation, these will be made available to the decision maker, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, when considering the decision about whether or not to accept the application under s55 of the PA 2008. It will be for the Secretary of State to decide the weight to give the views expressed in your correspondence based on the individual facts of the case.