Agenda item

DCO Submission: Verbal Update


The Chair explained that the meeting was now inquorate, but would continue as no recommendations or decisions were scheduled to be made.

The Senior Consultant Stantec stated that NH had formally submitted their DCO version 2 (DCOv2) on 31 October 2022, and therefore all documentation had been released onto the PINS website. He commented that there were 554 overall documents containing approximately 63,000 pages. He explained that Thurrock Council and other host local authorities now had to submit an Adequacy of Consultation (AoC) document to PINS by 16 November, who would then decide whether to accept the DCO by 28 November. The Senior Consultant Stantec described how if the DCO was accepted then the team would review all documentation, and PINS could ask for more information if they considered it necessary. He stated that the whole process would take approximately 15-18 months, and this would begin, if the DCOv2 application was accepted on 28 November, with PINS appointing five panel members in early December, who would then have between 3 and 5 months to review all the documents. He explained that PINS would then set up a preliminary meeting, probably in April/May 2023 before the public Examination phase starting in approximately June 2023. He stated that PINS would ask questions of the applicant and stakeholders, once they had completed their review of the documentation, and responders would have approximately three weeks to respond. He commented that public and topic hearings would also be held during this time, and this Examination was expected to finish in December 2023. He explained that PINS would have three months to prepare their recommendations before the report was sent to the Department of Transport. He explained that the Secretary of State would then have three months to grant consent or not. The Senior Consultant Stantec explained that therefore a decision from government was expected in mid-2024. He stated that interested parties could make representations to NH either through written questions or at an in-person hearing, but these people/groups would have to register to become an interested party on the PINS website. He summarised and stated that Thurrock Council had now drafted the AoC and this was currently going through governance processes.

The Chair queried how long people would have to register and when they could do this. The TCAG Representative replied that people usually had at least 30 days to register as an interested party, but this could be longer. She stated that people could now register for updates, which would inform them via email when registration as an interested party was open. The Senior Consultant Stantec added that the Council would publicise on their website when registration as an interested party was open, and the PINS Advice Note had been published, giving advice to the public. The TCAG Representative highlighted that documents could be filtered and searched on the PINS website. The Chair queried who could register as an interested party. The Senior Consultant Stantec replied that any business, individual or group in the UK could register.