River Humber Gas Pipeline Replacement Project

Enquiry received via email

River Humber Gas Pipeline Replacement Project

06 June 2015
National Grid - Carl Simms


Questions from the applicant in respect os S53 process:
1. We have considered the guidance and would just like to clarify that we are OK to use S53 for these sorts of surveys.
2. We are aware that there is a £1000 fee for each request to PINS to use S53. We wondered whether as it is a single plot and owner that we are dealing with whether you would be content with a single application in due course. Likewise whilst there are two different survey types required (hydrogeological/trial trenching) whether you would be accepting of both of these under the same S53 application.
3. We believe currently the timeframes for the process give around a 3 month determination period and we wondered as this is a single owner whether there would be any prospect of the process being completed more quickly. We are obviously keen to try and get the surveys done and agreement reached on the results with the EA and the council in advance of the examination so obviously the timescales for this are very tight.

Advice given

Section 53 of the Planning Act gives powers to enter land to carry out surveys and take levels and/or in order to facilitate compliance with statutory provisions implementing the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive or Habitats Directive. This ?includes power to search and bore for the purpose of ascertaining the nature of the subsoil or the presence of minerals or other matter in it?. Therefore, you will need to be confident that the need for your surveys falls within these definitions. You will need to ensure you provide a robust justification for the surveys that you are requesting with your authorisation request with due consideration to the requirements of Section 53, and ensure that the need for intrusive surveys is reflected in the conditions that you propose.
The Secretary of State has previously granted authorisation for a range of surveys, including intrusive boreholes; see the Yorkshire CCS project as an example.
As discussed on the phone, it is your understanding that all of the area for which you are seeking access is a single registered title. As we treat each land parcel representing a registered title or area of unregistered land as a single s.53 authorisation request, the fee would therefore be £1000.
If the plot does comprise more than one registered title and/or areas of unregistered land, we will use our discretion to determine whether or not it is a single or multiple request. Having viewed the plan you have provided; if there was to be more than one areas of registered/unregistered land within this green area, we would likely consider it to be a single request given that each would be sufficiently neighbouring to each other. We could confirm this upon viewing the registered titles for register land/areas of search for unregistered land.
We would accept both surveys within the same section 53 application; the fee is related to the number of parcels of land and not the number of surveys.
As discussed, there is not statutory timescale for determination of a section 53 authorisation request and it is highly dependent upon whether we identify the need for any further information either from the request itself or as a result of responses we receive from the landowner. We are unable to guarantee a timeframe for the determination period but will endeavour to process the authorisation request promptly. To reduce the potential for further information requests, please ensure that you have included all of the information set out in the April 2015 version of the advice note attachment 1

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attachment 1