Wrexham Energy Centre
At a meeting in Bangor on Dee, Daniel Chapman of Wrexham Power said clearly that once they started consultation there was very little scope for change, which basically confirmed your message. However Scottish Power now appear to be saying that they are not as confident as Wrexham Power are, regarding the continued use of existing infrastructure to carry the electrical connections.
I think it is the case that even if they have to "restring" the wires there is only a 10% limit to the increase in size of any structure i.e. as the current poles are 16m high any new ones could not go above 17.6m.
If Scottish Power varied from Wrexham Power on this subject, would the practical effect be to restart the consultation,or would the Inspectorate accept a variation provided it came within a minimum scale?
Thank you for your email of 7 August 2014 to my colleague Patrycja Pikniczka, relating to the proposed Wrexham Energy Centre. Please accept our apologies for the delay in replying.
Please note that Louise Evans has taken over from Patrycja as Case Officer for this project. So please can you send future correspondence relating to this case to either myself the Case Manager Tracey Williams or Louise Evans. We also have a Planning Inspectorate mailbox for this project and suggest you send or copy any future correspondence into it as well. The address is [email protected]
In your email you state that Scottish Power Energy networks (SPEN) appear to be saying that they are not as confident as Wrexham Power are regarding the continued use of existing infrastructure to carry the electrical connections and you enquire if SPEN varied from Wrexham Power on this subject, would the practical effect be to restart the consultation of the project. To answer your query I will first refer to the project description, the different options available to the applicant and then I will refer to DCLG Guidance on the pre-application process, published in January 2013.
The project description included in Chapter 4 of the Preliminary Environmental Information the applicant used for its recent statutory consultation is for;
? The power station complex, including the CCGT power station and a facility for combined heat and power supply to the Wrexham Industrial Estate; and
? The gas connection
As you are aware the applicant states that the power station will also need to connect to the local electricity network which will be progressed under a separate consenting strategy and will not be part of this Development Consent Order (DCO) application.
As the electricity connection is not part of this project that the applicant has consulted on, in accordance with Regulation 6(1)(a)(i) of the APFP Regulations, the applicant is required to draft a Grid Connection Statement which accompanies the application once it is submitted. The Grid Connection Statement needs to state who will be responsible for designing and building the connection to the electricity grid.
I understand that the applicant is currently in discussion with SPEN and have produced a joint feasibility study to gather information on the current network capability. To date, the applicant states that it has been identified that the local electricity network could accommodate the connection of the power station through upgrade works including the re-placement of existing overhead lines, installation of new underground cables and the replacement of conductors.
Changes to the application
If the applicant decides to change the application they have consulted on so that it includes a new Overhead Line electricity connection they will need to either;
? Apply for a DCO through the Planning Act NSIP process (if outside of the exemptions of the Overhead Lines (Exempt Installations) Order 2010) and change the application to include the electricity connection component. This can be by way of a separate DCO application, or can be a component of the existing DCO application, as a DCO can include two NSIPs; or
? obtain a consent through s37 of the Electricity Act 1989.
If it was proved that a key component of an applicant?s proposal was incorrect or varied significantly from the information that was originally consulted on under s42, s47 and s48 of the PA2008, then the applicant would be required (if they wished to continue with their application) to ?restart? their period of statutory consultation again with the new application information. This would only be required if the new information meant that the proposed development would be effectively unworkable or invalid. Guidance on the pre-application process for major infrastructure projects is contained in DCLG Planning Act 2008 Guidance on the Pre-Application process 2013. A link to the Guidance here and I have referred to relevant paragraphs of the guidance below;
Paragraph 55 of the DCLG Guidance is of relevance to your query as it advises that applicants are not expected to repeat consultation rounds set out in their Statement of Community Consultation unless the project proposals have changed very substantially. For example, where proposals change to such a large degree that what is being taken forward is fundamentally different from what was consulted on, further consultation may well be needed. This may be necessary if, for example, new information arises which renders all previous options unworkable or invalid for some reason. When considering the need for additional consultation, applicants should use the degree of change, the effect on the local community and the level of public interest as guiding factors.
Paragraph 56 of the DCLG Guidance states that where a proposed application changes to such a large degree that the proposals could be considered a new application, the legitimacy of the consultation already carried out could be questioned. In such cases it advises that applicants should undertake further re-consultation on the new proposals, and should supply consultees with sufficient information to enable them to fully understand the nature of the change and any likely significant impacts (but not necessarily the full suite of consultation documents), and allow at least 28 days for consultees to respond.
Paragraph 57 of the DCLG Guidance advises that if the application only changes to a small degree, or if the change only affects part of the development, then it is not necessary for an applicant to undertake a full re-consultation. Where a proposed application is amended in light of consultation responses then, unless those amendments materially change the application or materially changes its impacts, the amendments themselves should not trigger a need for further consultation. Instead, the applicant should ensure that all affected statutory consultees and local communities are informed of the changes.