Pre-application duty to consult for wind turbines

New pre-application consultation requirements are now in force in relation to a majority of wind turbine developments. Such consultation must allow the opportunity to comment on the proposals and collaborate with the applicant on design issues.

The close of last year (17 December 2013, to be precise) saw the commencement date for Section 122 Localism Act 2011. This introduces a duty to consult the local community before making a planning application for wind turbine developments that involve the installation of more than two turbines, or where the hub height of any turbine exceeds 15 metres.

These new provisions are incorporated into Section 61 Town and Country Planning Act 1990, where more detail can be found. The applicant must publicise the proposed application in such manner as is reasonably considered likely to bring the proposed application to the attention of a majority of the persons who live at, or otherwise occupy, premises in the vicinity of the land to be developed. That publicity must set out how those wishing to may comment on the proposed development or collaborate with the proposed applicant on its design. It must also give such information about the proposed timetable for the consultation as is sufficient to ensure that anyone wishing to comment may do so in good time.

Regard must be had to any advice that may be given by the local planning authority about local good practice.

Following consultation, and in preparing the application, the applicant must have regard to any responses to the consultation that have been received. The relevant application must then be accompanied by particulars of how the applicant has complied with the duty to consult, details of any responses to the consultation that were received and the account taken of those responses.

There is an exemption in relation to Section 73 applications to vary conditions or extend the time for implementation of existing consents which would otherwise be caught by these new requirements.

The provisions are brought into effect for seven years.

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