The Planning Inspectorate has announced that the application from Channel Energy Ltd for the proposed Atlantic Array offshore wind farm has been accepted, by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for examination.
The application for the proposed offshore wind farm was submitted on 14 June 2013 and the decision to accept the application to proceed has been made in accordance with section 55 of the Planning Act 2008 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011).
The proposed development which would be located in English and Welsh waters within the Bristol Channel, approximately 15.5 km from the north Devon coast, 22 km from the south Wales coast and 13.5 km from the nearest point on Lundy Island, is the first cross-boundary scheme to be examined by the Planning Inspectorate.
It comprises the construction and operation of up to 240 wind turbine generators (WTGs) with a maximum tip height of up to 220 metres, up to four offshore substations, up to five meteorological stations, inter-array cables that collect and transfer power generated by the WTGs to the offshore substations and export cables that take the electricity generated by the WTGs to shore.
When considering whether or not to accept an application for examination the Secretary of State has regard to the application documents submitted, any adequacy of consultation representations received from local authorities, and the extent to which the developer has had regard to any guidance issued. Other matters relating to the application will be considered by the Examining Authority during the examination and interested parties will have an opportunity take part in that process and make representations if they wish.
The acceptance to proceed decision and a copy of the application can be viewed at the Atlantic offshore wind farm project page on the National Infrastructure website.
It is now for the applicant, Channel Energy Ltd, to publicise the fact that its application has been accepted to proceed to examination and invite people who are interested in the proposal to register with the Planning Inspectorate as an interested party by making a relevant representation.
Once the period for registering as an Interested Party to make relevant representations has opened, people will be able to register with the Planning Inspectorate easily on the National Infrastructure website and completing the online ‘Registration and Relevant Representation form’. Alternatively, those without internet access may call the Planning Inspectorate, National Infrastructure Directorate helpline: 0303 444 5000 for a printed registration form.
Sir Michael Pitt, Chief Executive, Planning Inspectorate said. “After careful consideration we have decided on behalf of the Secretary of State that the application submitted by Channel Energy Ltd met the required tests set out in the legislation to be accepted for examination”.
Sir Michael added “The applicant must now decide when to publicise the fact that its application has been accepted to proceed to examination and announce when members of the public will be able to register with the Planning Inspectorate as an interested party in the application”.
Interested parties in an application can:
- Say what they agree or disagree with in the application and why
- Comment on what other people have said in their representations
- Attend a Preliminary Meeting and say how they think the application should be examined
- Request that an open floor hearing is held
- Attend and request to speak at open floor or issue-specific hearings should one be held.
The Planning Inspectorate’s Advice Note 8.3, ‘How to register and become an interested party in an application’ is available on the National Infrastructure website or a copy can be requested by calling 0303 444 5000.
Journalists wanting further information should contact the Planning Inspectorate Press Office, on: 0303 444 5004 or 0303 444 5005 or email: email@example.com
Follow this application on twitter: @Atlantic_Array
Notes to editors:
- From April 2012, the relevant Secretary of State became the decision maker on all national infrastructure applications for development consent. At the end of the examination of an application, which will still be completed within a maximum of six months, the Planning Inspectorate will have 3 months to make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State who will then have a further 3 months to reach their decision.
- The Planning Inspectorate, National Infrastructure Programme of Projects details the proposals which are anticipated to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate as applications in the coming months.
Copies of the application documents can also be viewed online on the project page of the Planning Inspectorate website.
The process in a snapshot
There are six key stages within the process. The summary below provides examples of when and how people have an opportunity to provide evidence to the Planning Inspectorate.
- project development / developer’s pre-application consultation and publicity
- environmental impact assessment preparation and scoping, where required
- have their say on the proposal to the developer through their pre application consultation
Acceptance by the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the Secretary of State
- the Secretary of State has 28 days from the day after receipt to decide whether or not an application should be accepted for examination
- details will be posted at the Planning Inspectorate’s website on how to register as an interested party – once an application has been accepted for examination and publicised by the developer
- opportunity to legally challenge a decision not to accept an application
- single Inspector or a Panel of three or more Inspectors appointed
- Preliminary Meeting called and held
- procedure and timetable set for examination
- register to say what you agree or disagree with in the application
- submit your representation
- view application documents submitted by the developer on the Planning Inspectorate website
- attend the Preliminary Meeting
- say how the examination should be conducted
- a maximum of six months to carry out the examination
- submit more detailed comments in writing
- comment on what other people have said
- request and attend an open-floor hearing
- If being held, request to speak at open-floor and / or issue specific hearing(s)
- comment on the local authority’s Local Impact Report - detailing the impact of the scheme on the local area
- a maximum of three months for Planning Inspectorate to issue a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State, with a statement of reasons
- the relevant Secretary of State then has a further three months from receiving the recommendation in which to issue the decision
- six weeks for any legal challenge