We are aware that since the online hearings in December 2020 for the Aquind Interconnector Development Consent Order, members of the public have been writing to the Examining Authority (part of the Planning Inspectorate) with comments on what was said. We also understand that residents have received responses that their comments will not be admitted to the examination.
In order to comment through the examination process, you needed to have registered as an ‘Interested Person’ by 6 October last year. The Examining Authority also used its discretion to accept comments received by unregistered persons up to 12 October 2020. As a local authority we are automatically considered an ‘Interested Person’ and can comment throughout the examination.
We understand the Examining Authority has now said it is not willing to use its discretion to admit comments from unregistered members of the public about what was said at the hearings in December 2020. We understand that this will be disappointing for members of the public but the Examining Authority is legally entitled to take this stance under the Planning Act 2008.
We would like to reassure you that we continue to oppose the Aquind scheme. We have been working very closely with our residents and other local authorities to make sure all considerations and concerns are brought to the Examining Authority’s attention. A point is not viewed as being stronger just because it is made by a large number of people – all material considerations must be considered and given weight according to their merits by the Examining Authority, no matter how many people raise them.
If you have a concern that you feel has not been raised at any point in the examination you should contact your local ward councillor.