Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay
Mr Jones on behalf of Pontardawe and Swansea Angling Society Ltd made several queries in a submission prior to the Preliminary Meeting on 10 June 2014. The full submission is published.
Having read your submission, I thought it appropriate to email you prior to the Preliminary Meeting to give some advice under s51 of the Planning Act 2008 (as amended) in relation to some of your queries. The preliminary meeting is held to discuss the running of the examination and not to discuss specific issues of merit which will need to be covered subsequently in writing and if relevant at hearings. At the Preliminary Meeting the Examining Authority (ExA) therefore is likely to adopt a listening rather than inquisitorial role.
An overall point would be that the ?Principal Issues? are a snapshot in time. They are written very early on in the pre-examination period. The issues identified could be argued to be applicable under a number of headings (as you have identified). They are not an exhaustive list of issues but are a vehicle to communicate to all interested parties issues which the ExA have identified to date. The examination is able to evolve and cover any issues that the ExA deem appropriate, as such the principal issues will not be revised. The ExA can probe any issue raised in the application documents and other examination documents and representations submitted.
In relation to the applicant?s compliance with s56 and the inclusion of category 3 persons, s51 advice has previously been issued on this point and therefore I would refer you to that.
I note your comments on the draft timetable in relation the topics identified for hearings. The reasons for identifying issues is to enable all interested parties to have some indication of when they may wish to attend hearings. This is a reflection of feedback that the Planning Inspectorate has received in previous examinations and is deemed good practice. This is not exhaustive and of course is subject to change as representations are received. At this stage, the hearings topics are provided as guidance. Further information will be provided in the hearing notifications and again in agendas which will be published prior to the hearings. It should be noted that the Planning Act 2008 is based upon a process to follow written representations supplemented by oral hearings and therefore hearings are not required on all topics.
To provide some advice on the ability for the applicant to submit new information during the examination for example in respect of its environmental impact assessment. There is some provision within the legislation for an applicant to submit supplementary information relating to the environmental statement during the examination period if requested to do so by the ExA. I would refer you to the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2010 (as amended). In practice, this enables proposals for, for example, mitigation or monitoring measures, to be agreed between parties during the course of examination. If relevant, the ExA will be able to advise on how this may be achieved within the bounds of the legislation as the examination progresses.