Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Inspector Calls a halt


North London Waste Plan Examination:
The Duty to co-operate[1]

1. The first session of the Examination hearings was held on 12 June into Legal Issues.  The South East Waste Planning Advisory Group (SWEPAG) and the East of England Waste Technical Advisory Body (EoEWTAB), comprising the waste planning authorities of their respective areas, had submitted a joint statement to be considered at the session in which they raised the “duty to co-operate” and claimed that the requirement had not been met by the North London Waste Plan (NWLP).

2. The North London Councils (the Councils) had submitted two papers; “CDNLWP41 Duty to co-operate – Borough’s response to Inspector” which is an answer to the Inspector’s request for a briefing note on how the requirements to co-operate had been met; and a “Legal Response to SEWPAG and EoEWTAB from NLWP on Main Matter 1”[2].  The Inspector had also seen a recent exchange of emails between the Advisory Groups and the Councils2 which had been forwarded to him by the Programme Officer.    Further legal submissions were made by the parties at the hearing, including the North London Waste Authority2.  In addition, the Inspector heard further details about the degree of contact between the Councils and the planning authorities where waste was received from North London (the waste importing authorities).

3. After hearing the submissions and the further information, the Inspector stated that they needed full consideration and he would not give a hasty response.  Therefore, he suspended the hearings until further notice so that he could make a proper response within the next two weeks. 

4. Within those two weeks, the Inspector would like the Councils to consider whether, should he find against them on their legal submissions, they have genuinely and effectively complied with the duty to co-operate with the waste importing authorities and to inform him of their decision within the week after his response to them has been received.  

5. He would also like the Councils to consider what they should recommend him to do, in the event that he concluded that they should have complied with the duty to co-operate with the waste importing authorities but had failed to do so.  Guidance on what co-operation involves is found in the National Planning Policy Framework (e.g. see paragraphs 156, 178 – 181) and also from the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) and the Planning Officers Society (POS).

6. If the hearings resume, it is anticipated that they would be no earlier than late September.  The Inspector would be happy to receive any further submissions on the “duty to co-operate” from parties who were present at the hearing within the next week should they wish to submit any.


[1] S110 of the Localism Act inserted S33A into the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004: A duty to co-operate in relation to planning of sustainable development. See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/20/section/110/enacted

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