It's four years now since the Crown Estate released nine areas for Round Three offshore wind farm developments. We report on where the numerous developments are in the planning process and provide a reminder of how you can make your views heard.
Whilst the RYA is lobbying at a national level to ensure the safety of navigation through all wind farms, it is of equal importance that you are making your views heard at the local level as part of the developer's statutory local community consultation process. The RYA, as the national body, is not deemed to be local and as such cannot be part of this local community consultation process.
This makes it ever more important that you make sure your views are heard.
The RYA has objected, and continues to object to aspects of the proposed developments on the grounds of safety of navigation.You can read more about the RYA's position here.
The planning process
Any developer wishing to construct a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) such as a wind farm over 100MW must first apply for consent to do so.
In order to build a wind farm, the developer must submit an application for development consent together with full supporting documentation covering every aspect of the development. This will include evidence that the developer has consulted fully with the local community and has taken their views into account.
The Planning Inspectorate then considers the application to ensure that it is complete, meets the expected standards and that all elements have been completed rigorously before formally accepting it for examination. They then have six months to examine the application before making a recommendation to the Secretary of State (DECC), who will then decide on whether to grant or to refuse development consent.
How can I influence a proposal?
Pre-application public consultation
The period of public consultation, which must include local communities, is the best opportunity to influence a proposal. Look for information on the developer's web site, and get your responses in by the deadlines set.
At this stage, the public can register with The Planning Inspectorate and provide a summary of their views of the application in writing. Everyone who has registered and made a relevant representation will be invited to attend a preliminary meeting run and chaired by an Inspector.
The planning inspectorate has six months to carry out the examination. During this stage, people who have registered to have their say are invited to provide more details of their views in writing.
Careful consideration is given by the Examining Authority to all the important and relevant matters, including the representations of all interested parties, any evidence submitted and answers provided to questions set out in writing and explained at hearings.
If you have objections it is worth thinking carefully about what your objections may be and how they may be viewed by the developers.
For more information on how you can register your interest, submit written comments and to keep updated visit The National Infrastructure Planning website
Stuart Carruthers, RYA Cruising Manager
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