Video transcript: How to take part in an Issue Specific Hearing

This video explains what to expect at an Issue Specific Hearing held during the Examination of a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination.

Whilst the Examination is mainly a written process, the Examining Authority may decide to hold Issue Specific Hearings.

The purpose of these hearings is for the Examining Authority to ask questions and clarify evidence that has been submitted during Examination through direct questioning.

To take part in an Issue Specific Hearing, you should be registered as an Interested Party.

An Interested Party can also be someone with an interest in land affected by the project or are a statutory organisation.

The inspector or panel of inspectors examining the application are in charge of hearings.

The inspector or inspectors are called the Examining Authority.

They lead the hearing to ensure it runs smoothly and on time, allowing everyone a fair opportunity to give their views.

It is up to the Examining Authority to decide which topics will be discussed and who will be specifically invited to discuss them.

The topics and the names of parties who have been asked to speak will usually be set out in an agenda and published on our website approximately one week before the hearing.

Even if you are not on the list of requested attendees you may still attend the hearing.

The Examining Authority may wish to hear from other Interested Parties during the meeting.

These hearings are usually in roundtable format with the applicant and requested attendees sitting at a table alongside the Examining Authority.

Members of the public are generally seated behind the roundtable to form an audience.

Cross examination of a person giving evidence by another person will only be permitted if the Examining Authority decides it is necessary to ensure representations are adequately tested or that a person has had a fair chance to put their case.

Parties wanting to present and rely on expert evidence are advised to ensure that the expert advisors are present on each day of the hearings to give evidence and to be questioned.

There are a number of general points which apply to these hearings.

We will aim to hold hearings at venues local to the project area.

To ensure we have a suitable venue we will ask you to let us know if you are going to attend.

Details on how to do this will be sent to you if you are an Interested Party and will also be published on our website.

Notification of the date, time and location of hearings will be published on our website at least 21 days in advance of the event.

Notices will be placed in the vicinity of the proposal and published in local newspapers.

Whilst hearings are open for everyone to attend, Interested Parties will be given priority to speak.

People who aren’t Interested Parties are not automatically entitled to speak during the hearing but the Examining Authority may allow them to do so.

Members of the Planning Inspectorate staff will usually be on hand to inform you where to sit and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

You may use social media or record the events but this must be done responsibly and with proper consideration for other parties.

The Examining Authority might ask you to refrain if it is distracting.

No individually recorded items may be relied on as evidence by any party or used in submissions.

An audio recording is made of all hearings and will be made available to download on our website.

You will find further information on our website including the project application documents as well as many helpful advice notes and information about the examination process.

Alternatively, our customer service team can provide advice over the phone on  0303 444 5000 or by email at [email protected].