PINS examining authority is proposing virtual hearings for EA1N & EA2 DCO’s, using technology like online video link (Zoom, Teams or a similar online format). SASES has considered the proposals and written to the examiners to express concerns that virtual hearings will present many challenges to ensure the DCO examination can be open and fair. Given the strong sentiment locally about Scottish Power’s proposals for EA1N & EA2 there are legitimate concerns that it will weaken the public participation in a planning process in which the community’s views have, to date, largely been ignored.
All those who submitted ‘Relevant Representations’ should have received a questionnaires to canvas views on how the DCOs can move forward.
It is important that as many people as possible complete the questionnaire, to indicate the strength of feeling about the DCO’s and your own ability to engage and contribute to the examination process if it resumes ‘virtually’.
PINS request completion of the questionnaire by 5pm 11th June, SASES believes in the circumstances it would be advisable to question the effectiveness of virtual/video hearings when large numbers might want to contribute:
– Interested parties might not all have adequate means to access or login/connect to virtual meetings & hearings.
– Online connectivity in rural Suffolk is not always reliable especially if 100+ people are expecting to participate online.
– Would it be practically possible for those who need to consult with appointed legal/expert representatives, who would also be trying to participate remotely. It would be hard to cross reference with legal/expert views in a secure manner.
Link to the online questionnaire (closes 5pm 11th June): https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=mN94WIhvq0iTIpmM5VcIjVhG9Fuq_qRGqeaSXKX2cWNUMjVSR0ZGSzZOSllKRzU3UDhQVzY0NFpXQy4u
SASES letter to The Planning Inspectorate 29th May 2020: SASES letter concerns about ‘virtual’ DCO proposals >>>