Planning & Environment

I was involved in the pre examination meeting this week for the Invergordon energy from waste plant planning appeal.

I’ve come away wondering what’s the point of these meetings.

Was it productive? yes, but the business could probably have been conducted through correspondence.

Did it assist the reporter? (I didn’t ask him!) Part of the agenda was to discuss the reporter’s provisional choice of further procedure for the topics. Parties were given an opportunity to make submissions on whether inquiry procedure, hearing or written submissions should be used. I was struck by how short these submissions were. Other than pointing to differences in expert opinion justifying cross-examination, there didn’t seem to be much to say.

Was it transparent? even although it was a beautiful sunny evening, the school hall was filled with members of the public who had come along to listen. Although there was no discussion of the issues, they appeared to welcome the holding of the meeting. It seems strange that the meeting to discuss procedure is held in public, but the outcome of the meeting could be the issue the public most want to be heard at a public inquiry – air quality and human health risk assessment – being decided by the reporter without any inquiry or hearing being held in public.

I’m still reeling at the criticism by an objector that  I said too little at the meeting!


Neil Collar