Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay
Advice provided following the meeting of 24 October 2013.
Further to advice provided at the meeting of 24 October 2013, and following informal consultation that has been carried out as a result, the Planning Inspectorate (the Inspectorate) has been copied into responses from some parties.
Such exchanges of correspondence take place regularly throughout the pre-application stage, and the Inspectorate is often copied into these. The Inspectorate finds this helpful in keeping us appraised of matters, and enabling advice to be provided to assist all parties in preparing for the submission of an application. The Inspectorate does not intend to make any substantive response to the content of these letters because these are, at this stage matters for the parties concerned and this correspondence was not addressed directly to us, but rather we were copied into it.
The Inspectorate would like to reiterate advice previously provided under s.51 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008). Any matters that have been raised through consultation, be it statutory or non-statutory consultation, and have or have not resulted in alterations in the application or application documents, should be explained in the consultation report.
Under s.55 of the PA2008, the Secretary of State may only accept an application if he is satisfied that the applicant has complied with the pre-application procedure set out in Chapter 2 of Part 5. This procedure includes an applicant's duty to take account of responses to consultation and publicity under s.49. This is best articulated through providing evidence of the iterative consultation activities which have taken place throughout the pre-application stage.
With regards the Environmental Impact Assessment, we would note that where matters have been scoped out or statutory consultee responses not followed the reasons for doing so must be adequately explained and justified in the Environmental Statement, which should be a standalone document.
A further point to note is that under Regulation 5(5) of the Infrastructure Planning (Application:Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009, the Inspectorate can, on behalf of the Secretary of State, request copies of all responses to statutory consultation and publicity. In view of this power, applicants should be ready to provide copies of these at short notice, preferably in both hard and electronic form, in the event of such a request.