This is entry number 85, first published on 13 January 2010, of a blog on the implementation of the Planning Act 2008. Click here for a link to the whole blog. If you would like to receive blog updates by email, click here.
Today's entry looks at Hartlepool Council's own efforts to consult on the proposed nuclear power station in its area.
The Nuclear Power National Policy Statement, one of seven published on 9 November, identifies ten sites as potentially suitable for new nuclear power stations. According to the Planning Act, the government must publicise the proposals in the locality of each site on the advice of the local council, and take the responses into account.
The government embarked on a programme of exhibitions and public meetings for each site (still continuing - see this earlier blog entry for details). The first exhibition started in Hartlepool on 12 November, with the corresponding public meeting on 14 November. The short time between the publication of the NPS and the local consultation has been criticised, but the government is not planning on holding any further local events there.
Presumably unhappy with the level of consultation in its area, Hartlepool Council has taken it upon itself to conduct its own local consultation exercise, and this week announced that it would be holding a 'Question Time'-style public meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday 26 January. This will be held at the Maritime Experience - ironically the same venue that the government held its exhibition and meeting. Invited to be on the panel are representatives from DECC (the relevant government department), EDF (the owner of the site) and Greenpeace. If you are interested in going, the deadline for applying is 20 January, and you should email email@example.com.
The council has also created an online questionnaire, with a closing date of 29 January. The results will be passed on to the government whose own deadline is 22 February. The questionnaire asks ten simple questions starting with 'Before you visited this website, were you aware that a new nuclear power station might be built in Hartlepool?'. A link to the questionnaire is here. Having read this blog entry, you will have to answer 'yes' to the first question.