Lower Thames Crossing Development Consent Order process

Highways England submitted their application for the Lower Thames Crossing scheme to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) on 23 October 2020. PINS now have to decide whether to accept the application for examination. They must do this by no later than 20th November.

Local Authorities were invited to submit a representation on the adequacy of consultation (AoC) by the 06 November. The AoC is a representation as to whether the applicant (in this case Highways England) has complied with various duties concerning consultation that are set out in the 2008 Planning Act.

Should PINS decide to accept the application for examination, local authorities, groups and members of the public will be invited to register as an Interested Party in the examination. This will involve those wishing to register as an interested party, submitting a representation to PINS which should include a summary of what they agree/disagree with the application, what they consider the main issues to be, and their impact.

The content of the relevant representations will be used by the Examining Authority (ExA) to help inform their initial assessment of the principle issues that need to be discussed at examination.

After the period for registering as an interested party has closed, the Planning Inspectorate will then publish the relevant representations on the relevant page of the national infrastructure website.

The ExA will then send out a letter to interested parties inviting them to a Preliminary Meeting (known as a rule 6 letter). Interested parties will be invited to submit their views in writing about any procedural matters in advance of the Preliminary Meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the procedure and timetable to be followed during the examination stage, which will be a maximum of six months. The invitation to the preliminary meeting will also include the draft examination timetable and the ExA’s initial assessment of the main issues.

After the preliminary meeting has been held, the application will enter into the examination stage. Highways England are currently suggesting a timescale below, but this is very much subject to change:

  • A pre-examination period – likely between late November and March 2021
  • Examination – anticipated from March to September 2021
  • Recommendation period – anticipated Autumn 2021 to Spring 2022

We will keep you updated with further news when we have it.

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