Well, the Public Inquiry is now closed and the Inspector intends to produce his report for Welsh Ministers during March so the team working on our objections to the development have heaved a sigh of relief for a short time hoping for a breather after what has been an intense and hectic time. Though as you’ll see there’s still more to do!
Just reminder that our approach has been that we have clearly stated that SCC are not opposed to the development of tidal power in the seas around Anglesey. However, we do want to ensure that the project can be delivered safely and in coexistence with other users of these seas, for the sake of local residents, businesses and ultimately future tidal generation.
There have been moments when we’ve wondered whether we have the energy to carry on, more times watching Inquiry sessions when we felt we may have lost the will to live and loads of frustration about the adversarial nature of the process. We’ve pulled together a Post Inquiry briefing (download from bottom of page) which gives the story so far as well as some lessons learned. You can download the documents we submitted at the end of this blog and for those of you who like the extensive detail all the papers related to the Inquiry can be seen at the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) website.
What’s been going on since the last blog:
The Planning Inspectorate Public Inquiry itself opened in Sept 2020 and the formal Inquiry ran over 17 days of oral hearing from the 1 Dec to 12 February when the Applicants Closing Statements were made.
We made detailed representation in three areas and had some successes as outlined below:
Socio-economics: We presented an incontrovertible body of evidence to show The Stacks are an internationally recognised centre of excellence for sea kayaking which supports guiding, coaching and hospitality businesses. Thanks to everyone who filled in the online questionnaires! We discovered that there is no direct legal requirements for compensation for lost income but the Section 106 to the Planning consent includes a mechanism for monitoring of socio-economic impacts to be overseen by the Isle of Anglesey County Council (IoACC). We will continue to engage with IoACC in the development of the monitoring and impact assessment methods to be used.
Seascape: two issues were raised. (1) Access to Henborth beach at Abraham’s Bosom - the cables are now to be underground so this should solve this problem. (2) Whether reduced use of high vis paint on devices to blend with the sea for people on cliffs was appropriate for sea kayaks passing close to the devices in poor weather. Trinity House will be consulting with kayakers concerning marking of devices.
Navigation: after preparing detailed presentations on this as it is our main concern we found it had been decided that these issues will be dealt with in the Marine License. But we got some movement with Morlais accepting kayakers are found further offshore and will enter and interact with the arrays. However, they still maintain that the MDZ presents no health and safety risk! However, we're looking forward to engaging with MCA on the Marine Licence and on how sea kayaking can be embedded in their guidance.
We’re now moving on to making sure that risks to kayakers will be appropriately dealt with through the Marine Licence processes – watch this space.
End of Inquiry briefing
Statement of Case provided to Inquiry
Response to consultation on hourly charts from hydrodynamic model