Our application was accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate on 11 June 2019. On 9 October 2019 we held our preliminary meeting and began our examination. Our examination ended on 9 April 2020 and a decision on the outcome of our application by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is expected in October 2020.

We will continue to monitor the project email address and phone line so we encourage anyone with questions on the next phases of the project to get in touch with us. We will also continue to keep you updated on the project via our website and e-newsletter.

There are several stages in the process before a decision is taken by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The Planning Act 2008 sets out a timetable lasting up to 18 months in which the application will be considered by the Planning Inspectorate and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Application assessment

Starting from the date our application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, there is a period of up to 28 days for the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to decide if our application is complete and meets the necessary standards and can be progressed.

Our application was accepted for examination on 11 June 2019, so it will now move to the next stage.

Pre-examination stage

Our application enters a ‘pre-examination’ stage, which lasts approximately three months. During this stage there is a period of time when the public is able to register with the Planning Inspectorate to become an Interested Party by making a Relevant Representation. A Relevant Representation is a summary of a person’s views on an application, made in writing. This period has now closed.


A preliminary meeting will be held to discuss how the application will be examined and to create a timetable for examination. The date of the meeting is set by the Examining Authority and will be held at a venue along the route of the replacement underground pipeline.

The Examining Authority has a maximum of six months to carry out the examination. During this stage, Interested Parties are invited to provide more details of their views in writing and the Examining Authority will also ask written questions. Interested Parties will also be able to attend the various hearings that will be held as part of the Examination Phase.

Post-examination report

Within three months of the close of the examination, the Examining Authority will prepare a report on the examination, including a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.


Following receipt of the Examining Authority’s Recommendation Report, the Secretary of State has a further three months to make the decision on whether to grant or refuse development consent. There are further details about this final step on the Planning Inspectorate website.

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