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Further changes to statutory consultee arrangements for the planning application process
The Society Response is as follows;
Question 1 : Do you agree with the proposal to make Lead Local Flood Authorities a statutoryconsultee on planning applications involving surface water drainage implications,subject to appropriate funding being available? !
POS agrees that Lead Local Flood Authorities should be made a statutory consultee but would insist that adequate resources are given to these authorities to ensure they have the technical expertise and capacity to respond. It would be useful to see the performance of the LLFA's however the performance stats should not be manipulated to look good, the quality of the response is as important as the timeliness.
Question 2: If Lead Local Flood Authorities were to be made a statutory consultee on development with surface water drainage implications, do you agree that this should be limited to major development?
Yes, POS agrees that development with surface water drainage implications should belimited to major development
Question 3: Do you think that there is a case for Lead Local Flood Authorities to be a statutory consultee on the following issues? If so, do you think this consultation requirementshould apply to developments of a certain size, and/or in certain risk locations? a) development with groundwater management implications? b) development in proximity to ordinary watercourses? c) any other local flood risk issues?
POS agrees that there could be a case for LLFA's to be a statutory consultee in othercases. POS would suggest that the size and risk/locations is not limited. This way theLLFA can choose to respond on cases it feels necessary.
Question 4: Do you agree with the proposed changes as set out in Table 1: a) to remove paragraph q (ii)?b) to remove paragraph r? c) to remove paragraph s? d) to amend paragraph t? e) to remove paragraph u? f) to remove paragraph y? g) to remove paragraph z? h) to remove paragraph zf?
Development which is not subject to EIA may still be substantial and raise pollution controlissues from the EA's perspective. The resolution of pollution control issues may require mitigation that can result in the redesign of schemes and the amendment of planning applications. While the EA could still be consulted on a non statutory basis, the deletion of Paragraph (s) may result in circumstances where developers experience increased costs to resolve planning and permitting contradictions. It is accepted that universal consultationis unnecessary but more thought should be given to an appropriate threshold(s) to achievethe best balance between procedural efficiency and control.
Planning authorities, particularly for waste proposals, rely on the advice of the pollution control authority to help them make proper informed decisions. (e.g. NPP Waste, at paragraph 7 and Appendix B, requires waste planning authorities in determining planning applications to take into account the impact on the local environment and on amenity interms of matters including water quality, flood risk, air emissions, dust, odour, noise and litter).
Question 5: Do you have views on whether water companies should be made statutory consultees in respect to shale oil and gas development?
Water companies have a role in delivering sustainable water and sewerage services. In exercising this function such bodies must plan to manage consumption, treatment and storage and maintain adequate capacity. A statutory consultee role, should be in relation to these functions. Other issues such as well designed and operation are subject to the control of other regulatory regimes maintained by other bodies such as the Environment Agency and HSE. The disposal of waste water associated with hydraulic fracturing is regulated by other statutory requirements.
Water Companies have a role as provider rather than regulator. The water requirements of shale oil and gas development while significant are not exceptional and can be dealt withthrough the normal process in planning and complementary regimes. Capacity planning may be more of an issue for the LDF Plan making process. At the project level an appropriate level of input can be secured through non statutory consultation as is currently the case.
Where there is the potential for detrimental environmental and health effects through thedisruption of aquifers and the need to have regard to water supply and waste management capacity it may be prudent to include the water companies as statutory consultee for this type of development.
POS notes that the proposed change to legislation emerges out of consideration of water related issues. However, this change will affect the advice local authorities currently receive from the Environment Agency on land stability, air emissions, odours, vermin and birds and litter. POS urges that the impact of withdrawing such advice is considered.