Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects


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Does a parish council have the right to be a statutory consultee?

Relevant parish councils are statutory consultees in the NSIP process, as set out in the list of prescribed consultees in Schedule 1 of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009.

The note at the end of the table in Schedule 1 of the Regulations states: "relevant" in relation to a body, shall mean the body which has responsibility for the location where he proposals may or will be sited or has responsibility for an area which neighbours that location.   AND in section 3 of the Regulations - "prescribed consultees" 3. The persons prescribed for the purposes of section 42(a) (duty to consult) are those listed in column 1 of the table in Schedule 1 to these Regulations, who must be consulted in the circumstances specified in relation to each such person in column 2 of that table.

In respect of s.3 it should be noted that, column one and column two of the table in schedule 1 state that, the relevant parish council, as defined above, will be consulted in all cases.  Visit website using the following link

Planning Act 2008 - guidance on pre-application consultation visit website using the following link

Statutory bodies and other relevant stakeholders:

33.  The Act requires promoters to consult with a range of statutory consultees, who are specified either because they may be directly affected by proposals in some way, or because they have particular expertise in, or responsibility for a matter relevant to the proposal.  Sections 42-44 of the Act require promoters to consult local authorities, people with an interest in the land or who may be significantly affected by proposals and bodies prescribed in secondary legislation (statutory consultees are set out in the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009.

How should parishes respond to  environmental impact assessment scoping 

On 8th March 2024 in relation to the LionLink Multi-purpose Interconnector Project, town and parish councils received a briefing from Suffolk County Council (available to view using this link) with a deadline of 4th April 2024 (fixed by regulation) to respond.  

Scoping of this nature is a very technically focused exercise and, therefore,  it is important for parishes not to try and mimic the activity of district and county councils, but rather to recognise that they can add value which non-departmental public bodies and principle authorities cannot.  The following provides further guidance:

Where parishes have a shared or common geography, such as Southwold, Walberswick and Reydon or Saxmunham and Stanningfield for example; they could work together to identify key areas of local environmental and socioeconomic sensitivity, which are either not likely to be picked up by the principal authorities,  or to which they can add significant local detail and colour.

In terms of Walberswick Southwold and Reydon for example, a suggestion is to include a focus on the contribution of the visitor economy to these places, the number of people employed, the number of businesses, the nature of the season, the vulnerability of events that are held during the main season to disruption, the vulnerability of business operations to disruption. 

There is also the opportunity to characterise the nature of place, and in doing so identify the particular vulnerabilities and sensitivities of that place or places. This would include not only the nature and sensitivity of the visitor economy, but also the nature and sensitivities of the resident community in terms of access to services, age profile etc etc.

From a parish perspective responses should set out  that  it is expected that the applicant recognises, understands, evaluates and mitigates the impacts of the operation and construction of the project, on these identified local sensitivities and issues.

This approach will help the applicant understand some of the detailed local issues, and frame the environmental impact assessment to respond to them. In summary, don't try to be exhaustive, rather, add value and information the other consultees cannot, giving effective voice to the locality.  

This should then form the basis for effective engagement with the applicant, as parishes will have explained the unique nature of place and locality, and what they see as the likely impacts and risks, posed  by the project.