Today, Thursday 19 February, The Planning Inspectorate has announced that the application for the Hornsea Offshore Wind Farm (Zone 4) 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 30 January 2015 and the decision has been made eight days ahead of the 28 day statutory deadline.
The application is the second offshore wind farm SMart Wind is proposing to develop in the Hornsea Zone. It would be up to 360 turbines delivering up to 1800MW of electricity and located approximately 89km off the Yorkshire coast.
In accordance with the Planning Act 2008 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011) , 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 give their views if they wish.
It is now for the applicant, Smart Wind Ltd, to publicise the fact that its application has been accepted for 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 has opened, people will easily be able to register online with the Planning Inspectorate by visiting the project’s page and completing the online ‘Registration and Relevant Representation form’. Alternatively, those without internet access may call the Planning Inspectorate helpline: 0303 444 5000 for a printed registration form.
Simon Ridley, Chief Executive, Planning Inspectorate said. “After careful consideration we have decided on behalf of the Secretary of State that the application submitted by Smart Wind Ltd met the required tests set out in the legislation to be accepted for examination”.
“The decision has been made ahead of the statutory deadline. It demonstrates our ability to deliver a predictable, fair and efficient examination process that provides certainty for everyone involved.”
“The applicant must now decide and publicise when members of the public can play a part in the examination process by registering with the Planning Inspectorate as an interested party to give their views.”
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; and
- 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 Inspectorate’s 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to editors:
- The acceptance to proceed to examination decision and a copy of the application can be viewed at the Hornsea Offshore Wind Farm (Zone 4) project page on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.
- 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. It can be viewed at www.planningportal.gov.uk/infrastructure
Copies of the application documents can be viewed online on the project’s page.
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
- opportunity to challenge