Press release

Thames Tideway Tunnel - Examining Authority appointed

A Panel of 5 examining inspectors has been appointed to examine the application for the Thames Tideway Tunnel application.

London Suburbs

The Planning Inspectorate accepted the application from Thames Water Utilities Ltd for Development Consent for the Thames Tideway Tunnel (‘Supersewer’) on 27 March 2013. The public and those interested in the proposal were able to register with the Planning Inspectorate between 17 April 2013 and 28 May 2013 and over 1,200 representations were received.

The Secretary of State has appointed Jan Bessell, Libby Gawith, Emrys Parry, Andrew Phillipson and David Prentis to examine this application. (See biographies below)

The appointment of the Panel to examine the application marks the next stage in the process and the Panel will now carry out the initial assessment of principal issues arising on this application.

Sir Michael Pitt, Chief Executive, Planning Inspectorate said. “The appointment of the Examining Authority is an important stage in the process. The Panel will examine this application in a fair and impartial manner.”

Following the Panel’s initial assessment of principal issues arising on the application, a preliminary meeting will be held. This meeting, which is likely to be in September, is held in public and after the meeting it will be decided how the examination should proceed. This will include the issue of the examination timetable which will set down the deadlines for the receipt by the Panel of written representations from Interested Parties, when hearings will be held and when any accompanied site visits will take place.

Interested parties, including those who have registered with the Planning Inspectorate, will be sent the examination timetable and will be notified about any changes to the examination timetable made during the course of the examination.

Ends

Journalists wanting further information should contact the Planning Inspectorate Press Office, on: 0303 444 5004 or 0303 444 5005 or email: pressoffice@pins.gsi.gov.uk

Follow this application on twitter: @ThamesTunnel

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.

Biographies

Jan Bessell

Jan Bessell is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and Institute of Quarrying. She sits on the RTPI General Assembly and Planning Policy and Practice Committee, is a practitioner member of a University Partnership Board and a long term Planning Aid advisor. Jan joined the Planning Inspectorate in 2012 upon the abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), where she had been appointed as one of the original Commissioners. Prior to joining the IPC, she was Head of the Planning Team and a Partner (equivalent) with law firm Dickinson Dees LLP. She previously worked as a Planner progressing to Partner at Anthony Walker and Partners, Planner British Coal Corporation Opencast Executive NE Region and Planner British Coal Corporation Operational Research Executive HQ. Jan was appointed to consider the acceptance of the first application to be received by the IPC and to lead the Panel appointed to examine the Brig y Cwm energy from waste application. Most recently Jan was the lead member of the Panel working on the examination and reporting on the Galloper Offshore Wind Farm and onshore electrical connection application.

Jan is a Chartered Town and Country Planner with extensive experience in planning law and practice.

Libby Gwaith

Libby Gawith is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Member of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), who joined the Planning Inspectorate upon the abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), of which she was a member. Prior to joining the Planning Inspectorate, she was Engineering and Operations Director for Wessex Water, Customer Services Director for Southern Water, and Managing Director of Earth Tech Europe. Libby is also a non-executive Member of WICS (Water Industry Commission for Scotland). Libby was a member of the Panel which examined the Preesall Underground Gas Storage application.

Libby is a Chartered Civil Engineer with extensive experience in water infrastructure.

Emrys Parry

Emrys Parry is a practising solicitor and a legal associate of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), as well as a past chairman of the Compulsory Purchase Association. Emrys joined the Planning Inspectorate upon the abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), of which he was a member. Prior to joining the Planning Inspectorate, he led the Planning and Regeneration Division of Bond Pearce LLP solicitors where he specialised in property development and town and country planning. He began his career in Local Government in South Wales before moving to the Land Authority for Wales in 1977 where he was legal adviser for some years before moving to private practice in London in 1985. Emrys was a member of the Panels which examined the Rookery South Energy from Waste Power Station, Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station and Preesall Underground Gas Storage applications.

Emrys is a practising solicitor with extensive experience in compulsory purchase law.

Andrew Phillipson

Andrew Phillipson is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Member of the Institution of Highways and Transportation. He joined the Planning Inspectorate in 1996, departing briefly to become a member of the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) until its abolition. When with the Planning Inspectorate he took part in several inquiries into major infrastructure, including the proposed new container port at Dibden Bay near Southampton. He was also appointed to lead the Stansted Airport (G2) Inquiry and conducted several inquiries into major rail terminals proposed around London. Andrew was a Panel member on the first application to be examined under the Planning Act 2008 regime, the Rookery South Energy from Waste Power Station. Most recently he was appointed to lead the Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station examination.

Andrew is a Chartered Civil Engineer with extensive experience in transport infrastructure.

David Prentis

David Prentis is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) who joined the Planning Inspectorate in 2006. Since that time he has worked as a full-time Planning Inspector dealing with planning appeals and other casework, including casework relating to listed buildings. Prior to joining the Planning Inspectorate, from 1993 onwards, he was responsible for managing the planning application services of two local authorities, first at Lewes District Council and then at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. He previously worked as a town planner in various roles, including periods of employment with the London Borough of Barnet, the London Docklands Development Corporation and in private practice.

David is a Chartered Town and Country Planner with extensive experience in built heritage issues.

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.

Pre-application

Key activities:

  • project development / developer’s pre-application consultation and publicity
  • environmental impact assessment preparation and scoping, where required

Public involvement:

  • 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

Key activities:

  • the Secretary of State has 28 days from the day after receipt to decide whether or not an application should be accepted for examination

Public involvement:

  • 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

Pre-examination

Key activities:

  • single Inspector or a Panel of three or more Inspectors appointed
  • Preliminary Meeting called and held
  • procedure and timetable set for examination

Public involvement:

  • 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

Examination

Key activities:

  • a maximum of six months to carry out the examination

Public involvement:

  • 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

Decision

Key activities:

  • 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

Post decision

Key activities:

  • six weeks for any legal challenge

Public involvement:

  • opportunity to challenge
Published 14 June 2013