This video explains how members of the public can get involved and have their say in the development consent regime for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects otherwise known as NSIPs.
Before continuing this video, we would recommend you read our video transcript on the six-stage process.
The six stages of an NSIP application:
- Pre Application
- The Examination
- Recommendation and Decision
- Post Decision
The Planning Act 2008 defines and establishes a process for examining NSIPs which would previously be consented by different government departments.
The need for these schemes is established in National Policy Statements and the purpose of the process is to weigh the local impacts of the scheme against the national need for such infrastructure in a fair, open and impartial manner.
Our inspectors, who form what is known as the Examining Authority in considering projects, will make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State about whether or not to grant consent for these schemes.
The Pre-application stage
It is important you engage with the applicant at this stage whilst the scheme is being shaped.
Although you may object to the scheme in principle, this stage is your chance to shape it by suggesting, for example, alternative layouts or plans or ways of reducing the impact of extra traffic.
The applicant will publicise how they are going to consult you and will inform you where events will take place and how long you will have to respond to the consultation.
Keep an eye out for adverts in local papers, on the applicant’s website and in local community meeting places for information on how to get involved.
The Pre-examination stage
If an application is accepted by the Planning Inspectorate, you can register to get involved in the Examination as an Interested Party.
You must register as an Interested Party to be involved in the Examination.
The easiest way to register is to complete the form on our website.
You will need to give a summary of your views when you register but you will be invited to make further representations later in the process once you have registered.
When registering, think about who you will be representing throughout the Examination.
You can of course represent yourself and your family’s interests.
You can also effectively participate as a member of a group or leader of a group.
The key thing to remember is that it is the quality of information, not the number of times it is presented, that is the most effective way to participate.
This is a picture of a typical project page. The video shows a picture of a project page on the National Infrastructure site.
You may wish to set this page as a favourite as this will become the hub of the Examination where all the applicant’s documents and all representations made will be made available.
This is where you make your Relevant Representation. The video shows an image of the Relevant Representation form that is advertised on the project page when the period for making representations is open.
The form contains all the details we need to keep in touch with you during the Examination.
You will not be able to submit a representation without filling in these fields.
This box should contain your representation. The video shows the field on the relevant representation form where you enter your representation. The field is labelled Your representation.
Once you have clicked submit with a representation that sets out your views on the scheme you are an Interested Party and will be kept informed of the progress of the proposed scheme.
The Examination Stage
The Examination Timetable set at the Preliminary Meeting provides all the deadlines for the submissions of representations.
You should submit your representation within good time of this deadline.
Your main submission will be your Written Representation which will be requested fairly early in the Examination period.
If you disagree with what another party has said, you will have the chance to say so by commenting on their representation.
As an Interested Party you will also have the right to speak at hearings and submit a written summary of what you have said after the hearing.
There are three types of hearings that may be held.
Issue specific, open floor and compulsory acquisition.
You may be invited to, and can attend, these hearings if they are relevant to you.
When making a representation you should base it on your experience of the local area and how you think the proposal will impact on you and, if possible, provide evidence to support your submission.
Recommendation and Decision stage
Once the six-month Examination is over, you will be notified about its close, after this, the Examining Authority can no longer accept any submissions.
The Examining Authority has three months to write its recommendation and submit it to the relevant Secretary of State.
The relevant Secretary of State makes the final decision for all NSIPs.
The Secretary of State has three months to decide whether or not to follow the Examining Authority’s recommendation and to make its decision.
So, in summary, engage early with the applicant to shape the scheme.
Register as an Interested Party with us within the given time or join a group that has done do.
If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to take part in the Examination.
Make your representations in a way which gives the most information possible, based on fact and experience, about the impacts of the scheme.
Be objective rather than subjective and provide evidence where possible.
I do hope this video has helped you.
You will find further information on our website infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk including many helpful advice notes.