On January 17th at the preliminary meeting hosted by the IPC (in the Park Inn Hotel, St Mary’s St, Bedford, MK42 0AR at 10.00am) MMAG will make the case for local people to have the opportunity to be heard by the IPC as it examines the Covanta proposal. MMAG will provide an update following the meeting.
Clearly a meeting hosted on a Monday morning in Bedford discriminates against those with jobs and creates the impression local people have to travel to the IPC rather than this public body coming to those who will have to live next to the Incinerator. No meeting time or venue can satisfy everyone but it should be possible to organise a time and place that enables as many as possible to attend accepting that the meeting also needs to be attended by other parties, such as statutory consultees, who will need to travel sometimes considerable distances in order to attend the meeting.
The Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules require that at least 21 days notice is given of a preliminary meeting or other any other hearing and there is a statutory requirement for the examination to be completed within a six month period.
The revised National Policy Statements for Energy(NPS/s) – which provide the criteria for the IPC examination of the Covanta proposal – are currently undergoing consultation which closes on 24th January. Further details can be found on the Department for Energy & Climate Change website: www.decc.gov.uk
They are not much different from the previous NPS consulted on by the previous government and MMAG participated in that. MMAG understands that the Government are aiming to designate them in Spring 2011. Should the relevant NPS be designated by the time the application reaches the decision stage
then the Commission would be able to make the final decision on the application, otherwise it would be made by the Secretary of State. The Government recently issued a major infrastructure planning reform statement which stated that for “energy applications” this would be the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change : so the DECC write the rules and decide whether they have been met ! However this is somewhat academic because it now appears highly likely the IPC will make the decision for or against with a designated NPS.