Next Steps

Actions & Insights

The Examination has reached a major milestone – the Written Representations and Local Impact Reports have been submitted. They are a key part of the process and intended to identify in detail all the issues with supporting evidence to take the Examination to the next level.

The Examination library has now posted all the documents submitted from Deadline 2 including the above, and Responses to the ExA’s questions (in the main from Mallard Pass Solar Farm). MPSF has also updated a number of the application documents and submitted some additional ones.

If you are interested MPAG’s Written Representation and appendices can be found there as well. Unfortunately the Planning Inspectorate’s portal has not loaded the documents in order. Currently the main report is labelled as REP2-090 (it might change). Or you can just do a search against ‘Mallard Pass Action Group’ and it will show all our submissions for that deadline.

The next deadline is imminent. You now have the opportunity at Deadline 3 to comment on ANY of those documents (see below list). Go to ‘Make a submission’ and upload your comments against the relevant item. The deadline is 29th June.

  • Comments on Written Representations
  • Comments on Local Impact Reports
  • Comments on Responses to ExA’s First Written Questions
  • Comments on the Applicant’s draft itinerary for the ExA Site Inspection.

Hearings:
The next stage is a series of Issue Specific Hearings beginning w/c 10th July.

1.         Scope of the Proposed Development, need, site selection, and alternatives – Tuesday 11th July
2.         Environmental Matters – Weds 12th July (and Thurs 13th am if required).
3.         Draft Development Consent Order – Thurs 13th pm
4.         Compulsory Acquisition* – Friday 14th July am.

All the details are on the Planning Inspectorate website or in the Rule 13 letter emailed to you on 13th June.

Note: Until the agenda is issued it is not clear what items will be covered in Environmental Matters as it covers an extensive range of topics, some which will wait until September to be examined.

How and should you get involved?
The meetings are an opportunity fo the ExA to ask a series of questions. No one will be allowed to make a speech as they did at the Open Floor Hearings. Most of the questions will be directed at MPSF, some to ourselves, the councils and also other statutory consultees. The ExA may extend some questions to the public floor, but only if he has time and feels it is applicable.

I suggest you watch a few minutes of Sunnica solar farm Environmental hearing, it will give you an idea how the meeting runs.

The deadline for registering to attend is Mon 3rd July. Use this form to register.

Anyone that feels they have some expertise in any environmental topic it would not only be useful for you to attend, but also possibly to support the MPAG team. Please get hold of us using our email address mallardpassactiongroup@gmail.com.

We would like public support at the hearings wherever possible, you don’t have to speak, but there may be an opportunity to answer a question should you wish to do so.

*For all Essendine A6121 roadside residents affected by the potential Compulsory Acquisition activity, I recommend you attend this hearing. The latest position is that MPSF are indicating taking the cable through Essendine is not their favoured route, but it depends on how their negotiations go with Network Rail looking at the alternatives. We should assume the worst and work towards the best solution.
(REP2-037 Q1.0.12 response to Written Questions from MPSF gives an update about the cabling proposals).

Note: All links in this document are safe and have been checked.

Many thanks for your continued support.

Mallard Pass Action Group

Written Representation

Deadline 1 is complete, we move on to the next really important stage, especially for the general public. Following the Rule 8 letter issued on 23rd May, we are now approaching Deadline 2 on 15th June.

The following items are included for the deadline, but only the ones highlighted are relevant to you. (The below items are what you will see on the portal form).

  • Written Representations
  • Summaries of all Written Representations exceeding 1500 words
  • Responses to ExA’s First Written Questions (ExQ1)
  • Comments on any other submission received at Deadline 1
  • Statements of Common Ground (SoCG) requested by the ExA (See Annex F of Rule 6 letter)
  • Statement of Commonality of SoCG
  • Schedule of Negotiations and Powers Sought (Compulsory Acquisition and Temporary Possession)
  • Applicant’s updated Book of Reference (BoR) and schedule of changes to BoR • Applicant’s draft itinerary for ExA site inspection

Anyone that registered as an Interested Party earlier in the year submitted a Relevant Representation (RR). Search here for your RR. You may also have attended an Open Floor Hearing recently.

The Written Representation (WR) is “an opportunity to set out your case and if you want to, expand on any views provided in your Relevant Representation. There is no prescribed form for Written Representations; you may wish to include supporting evidence in your representation by cross referring to a document or providing extracts as an annex.”

Advice Note 8.4: The Examination points 5, 6 and 7 in particular gives some useful hints and tips.

This stage of the Examination is not for the faint-hearted. In order to construct some arguments and provide evidence, you need to be conversant with aspects of the application. This guide (p7 onwards) helps identify some of the documents you might want to look at, and gives you the App-xxx numbers (file references with links) which you can find in the Examination Library.

A starting point if you are not familiar with any of the application documents is:

When you are ready to submit, go to Make a submission and follow the instructions on the online form. You can just cut and paste text but it loses all formatting, so we suggest attaching a Word or PDF document, preferably the latter.

Other than if you have signed up for a future Open Floor Hearing, this might be your last opportunity to have your say in more detail. There will be Issue Specific Hearings, but we don’t know yet what the topic areas will be and therefore can’t assume everything will be covered.

Good luck and many thanks.

Mallard Pass Action Group

MALLARD PASS EXAMINATION – GUIDANCE NOTE 

Last week the Examination started with the government’s Planning Inspectorate (PI), it will last for 6 months. 3 initial meetings took place.
1. Preliminary  meeting to discuss the timetable and process.
2. Open Floor Hearing 1 and Open Floor Hearing 2
Recordings and transcripts are available in the links above.

The Rule 8 letter from the Planning Inspectorate was issued on 23rd May. It confirms a revised timetable and some procedural changes. There were over 1200 people that registered as Interested Parties (IPs) back in Jan/Feb, as IPs you have the opportunity to have your say in the Examination at specified points. We suggest you familiarise yourself with the area of the application you are interested in and the Examination timetable. Note: If you are not an IP you cannot take part in the Examination.

Deadline 1 (D1) – Tuesday 30th May

  1. Written summary of oral case required for those who spoke at an Open Floor Hearing.
  2. Notification of wish to speak at a future Open Floor Hearing (OFH) – likely date w/c 10th July. It’s best to make the request and then change your mind if you can’t attend nearer the time. We would welcome more Interested Parties putting themselves forward to speak. Note: you cannot speak again if you did so last week.
  3. Notification of wish to speak at a Compulsory Acquisition Hearing (CAH)
  4. Notification of wish to attend an Accompanied Site Inspection (ASI).
  5. Suggested locations for site inspections including justification.
  6. Notification of wish to have future correspondence received electronically. This is only applicable to residents affected by the Compulsory Acquisition who receive postal communications as an ‘Affected Person’ and have a corresponding ID no.

Note: all meetings can be attended in person or online.

Deadline 2 (D2) – Thursday 15th June

  1. Written Representation (WR) – when you registered as an Interested Party you will have made a Relevant Representation (RR), it may have been quite short. This your main opportunity to present your argument with evidence. See useful references below.
  2. Summary of WR above if it exceeds 1500 words.

There are many other actions for D2 outlined in the Rule 8 letter (p6 onwards), but they relate to Mallard Pass (the Applicant), other consultees and ourselves.

How to make a submission

  1. Have your Interested Party or Affected Person ID ready.
  2. Use the Make a submission tab to identify the deadline and subject you want to make a submission on. If you have more than one item you can do them at different times or together, but don’t miss a deadline as the examiner (ExA) is unlikely to accept any late submissions.

Useful references:

  1. Guide to the Application – a structured list of all the Examination documents. There are over 200 so you need to scroll through to see which documents are of particular interest, some suggestions are made below.
  2. Examination library – where the Planning Inspectorate keeps all the Application and Examination documents. There are references in the guide linking back to the Examination library document no.
  3. Environmental Statement – non-technical summary
  4. Environmental Statement Chapter 5: Project Description
  5. draft Development Consent Order

Please contact Mallard Pass Action Group if you have any queries.

If you experience any problems with the portal for the Mallard Pass Solar Farm application, email them at MallardPassSolar@planninginspectorate.gov.uk. They are very helpful and usually very quick, but don’t leave your submissions to the last minute.

Please note all links in this document are to the Planning Inspectorate website should you have any concerns about trusted links.

Get involved, have your say, the Planning Inspector wants to hear from you too.

Many thanks.

Mallard Pass Action Group

Over the next 7 months MPAG will keep you up-to-date with the Examination process and key deadlines. We hope many of you will engage and give your continued support. Apologies in advance for some of the terminology and acronyms, but we are now operating inside the infrastructure planning system. We will try to simplify wherever possible.

Note: the Planning Inspectorate (PI) is the Examining Authority (ExA), working on behalf of the government for this Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).

For now we want to draw your attention to the 3 activities for the next deadline of 3rd May.

Those of you that registered as an Interested Party (IP) will have received an email from the PIanning Inspectorate on 13th April. As an IP you are entitled to take part in the Examination.

Email letter: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/document/EN010127-000353
The Rule 6 letter (above link) takes you through a draft Examination timetable, provide dates for meetings and deadlines for written submissions. All meetings are blended i.e. in-person and online, and a recording is available online shortly afterwards.

At the top of the email, or any letter correspondence you receive, is your unique reference number. It will begin with 2003 if you are an ‘Interested Party, or MPSP if you are an ‘Affected Person’. It is possible to be both. You will need to keep the number handy to register for events and make submissions.

1. Written Submission on the Examination Procedure 
You can make a written submission about the Examination procedure outlined in the letter before the Preliminary Meeting (PM) takes place on 16th May, should you wish to. Time to speak at the Preliminary Meeting will be limited, a written submission provides an opportunity to go into more depth. Please read the full letter, P20-25 gives a summary of the proposed timetable.

2. Preliminary Meeting (PM)
Tuesday 16th May 10am-1pm, East of England Showground/Online
Please see the agenda on p7-8 of link above.

The purpose of the Written Submission and Preliminary Meeting above is to enable views to be put to the Examining Authority (ExA) about how the application should be examined, purely in terms of the process and the timetable. It is not an opportunity for you to give your views about what you like or don’t like about the application.

There are a number of statutory consultees, e.g. National Grid, Anglian Water, Cadent Gas, Local Councils, Environment Agency, Natural England, Historic England, National Highways, Network Rail, etc; and stakeholders like MPAG who will want/need to be heavily involved throughout the process, and are particularly interested in making written submissions and attending this Preliminary Meeting.

Those people who registered as Interested Parties (IPs), and residents identified as Affected Persons (APs) with an interest in land affected by compulsory acquisition rights, may also wish to attend and/or have a say, should you have a specific interest in the Examination procedure.  (Note: there will be compulsory acquisition hearing(s) later in the timetable).

3. Open Floor Hearings (OFHs)
Wednesday 17 May 10am, East of England Showground/Online
Wednesday 17 May 7pm, East of England Showground/Online

This is your opportunity to speak to and be heard by the ExA and Mallard Pass about the proposed development. It is important for the ExA to understand the level of opposition to this scheme, to hear face-to-face or on-screen what your issues and concerns are. You should focus on specific detail and explanation to help inform the ExA.

There will be an opportunity down track to make a more detailed Written Representation –  deadline 15th June. Speaking at an OFH is time-limited, whereas the Written Representation will allow you to cover considerably more detail by expanding on your argument and evidence. There is merit in doing both, they carry equal weight with the ExA but you should avoid repetition.

We would love your support at either of these OFHs, preferably face-to-face, even if you only attend and choose not to speak. A hall packed with members of the public speaks volumes.

Do you need to ‘register’ for the Preliminary Meeting and/or for an Open Floor Hearing (OFH)?

  • YES – If you want to attend in-person (they want to ensure enough seats are available)
  • YES – If you want to speak either in-person or online.
  • NO – If you just want to watch livestream (details will be provided by the PI in due course). A live recording will also be available after the event.

How and when do you register by?
‘Procedural Deadline A’ (p20 of the link above) is 3rd May. There are 2 actions you need to take. Have your IP reference number ready.
A. Register through this online questionnaire, this will cover both the Preliminary Meeting and the Open Floor Hearings.
B. Complete the Make a Submission tab. If you are engaging in any of the 3 activities above you will also need to complete this form.
(Note: both forms are very quick to populate. If in doubt complete the online questionnaire/make a submission tab, if you can’t attend, that would be less of an issue than missing the deadline.

If you have any queries about deadlines or any aspects of the process, the PI team are very quick to respond. Email them at MallardPassSolar@planninginspectorate.gov.uk. Please copy us in as we may also be able to help you.

Don’t forget 3rd May is the deadline for all of the above. As 1200 people registered as Interested Parties and over 95%  were against the proposed development, we need to continue to have our voice heard and arguments listened to. Please participate wherever you can. We will be giving more guidance in our next newsletter for those attending the meetings, and over the coming months.

Thank you.

Final reminder.

You have until midnight tonight to register as an Interested Party.

You will have seen all the previous newsletters, so you will know what it’s all about. It need only take 5 minutes to tell the Planning Inspectorate a summary of points as to why you object to Mallard Pass Solar Farm.

As a reminder, if you need it, go to our website:
https://www.mallardpassactiongroup.com/next-steps/
‘Click here’ button takes you to our guidelines/info sheet.

Register here:
https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/east-midlands/mallardpass-solar-project/

I suggest you type your objection elsewhere in Word or draft email first, and then cut and paste into the registration form. If there were any problems when you submit, then you will still have a record of your objection. If in the unlikely event it does happen, email the Planning Inspectorate at MallardPassSolar@planninginspectorate.gov.uk and say that you have tried to register and failed. Send them your objection and contact details.

What’s next? We wait until the Planning Inspectorate advises us of the ‘Preliminary Meeting’ date which takes place the day before the 6 month Examination starts.

Meanwhile the team are exceptionally busy preparing for the Examination. That involves our legal counsel and experts which does not come cheap. Nearly 250 of you have donated generously to our fighting fund, but we still need more support. You can donate via:

Thank you to everyone that has registered and still plans to today, your feedback really counts. We look forward to seeing you all at the ‘Preliminary Meeting’.

Thank you.

Final Reminder – 1 week left to REGISTER as an INTERESTED PARTY with the Planning Inspectorate. It need take no more than 5 minutes.

https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/east-midlands/mallard-pass-solar-project/

Why should you give feedback again?

  • The Planning Inspectorate, the government’s examining authority, has not heard your feedback yet, only Mallard Pass has directly.
  • Register before Thursday 2nd March, have your say to the Planning Inspectorate, after that you can take part in the Examination process as much or as little as you like e.g. attend a site visit or a hearing, give more feedback on a particular subject.
  • Don’t register, and you won’t be able to give any feedback later on. You will have to wait until 2024 to see if the Secretary of State for Energy approves or rejects the application.
  • The community’s voice is important. Over 1000 people responded to Mallard Pass at Stage 2 consultation. Has your opinion changed since Mallard Pass submitted their final application? If not, then over 1000 people should register their feedback with the Planning Inspectorate.

Why is this so important?

  • It will take 2 1/2 years to process this application from start to finish. It’s huge scale, complexity and importance warrants it being a national infrastructure project. Whilst the decision will be made centrally by the Secretary of State for Energy, the impacts of this scheme will be felt locally. Therefore it warrants our local attention at every stage.
  • The site is over 2000 acres, it will change the landscape character of the wider area to one of an industrial-scape. This scheme has no end date, it is classed as ‘temporary’, but the reality is it could go on for a very long time, way in excess of 40 years.
  • Can we guarantee at the end of its life that future generations won’t be left with a solar graveyard? Look at other decommissioned energy plants and see how much land has been returned to its former state.
  • Can we really afford to lose productive agricultural land at a time when we need to be more self reliant and protect our long term food security?
  • Do you really believe a solar farm that takes 2 years to build is not going to damage the environment and habitat in some way?
  • There are other options for renewable energy other than ground mount large scale solar farms – residential and commercial rooftop solar, on and off-shore wind (3-4 times more efficient than solar), and other emerging technologies.

The list of concerns and issues are countless. Visit our website for more details.

If you’re still not sure whether to register, listen to your local MPs Alicia Kearns and Gareth Davies. Both of them have been urging people to register – it’s now or never.

Lastly please DONATE and support our legal fundraiser. It will make all the difference as we head into the Examination process, but we need the funds now. Thank you.

MPAG Committee

There is just 2 weeks left before the 2nd March deadline for ‘Registration as an Interested Party’ with the Planning Inspectorate. Don’t leave it until the last minute, Mallard Pass may have heard what you had to say last year during the consultation, now it’s time for the Planning Inspectorate to examine the application and make their recommendations, and they need to hear directly from you.

This is one of the biggest planning applications in Lincolnshire and Rutland since Rutland Water. Therefore it’s important as many people as possible register and submit their views. Once registered you can take part in the Examination process as much or as little as you want. It would be a shame not to have the choice. If you require more information, go to our website and look at Next Steps.

Food for thought, did you know…..?

  • Solar is the least efficient of all renewable energy sources. On average it can only deliver 11% of its stated output. On-shore wind is 3 times more efficient, off-shore even more efficient. That’s why its best placed on rooftops.
  • Solar is very inefficient with respect to land use. On average the government says 5 acres are used for every 1MW of output. If the government’s net zero target for solar of 70GW is to be met by 2035, the solar needed would broadly cover the county of Bedfordshire.
  • Solar is the cheapest energy to produce, but that does not result in cheaper tariffs for the consumer. Prices in the market are set by wholesale gas prices. Hence why Centrica today are reporting record profits for 2022 of £3.3bn, 3 times higher than the previous year and why your energy bills are so high.
  • There are no benefits for the local community unless of course you class permissive footpaths surrounded by solar panels, fencing, CCTV a benefit.
  • The country is already losing 99,000 acres of rural land a year to industrial and other uses.   Dr John Constable, Net Zero Watch’s director of energy, said: “Farmland is already a renewable energy producer, making food from sunlight. Sacrificing that national asset to produce low quality electrical energy from solar photovoltaic panels is foolish in itself and will have deep and troubling long-term implications for British food security.”
  • There is an influx and concentration of solar farm applications across Lincolnshire due to the climate and topography. If local communities don’t stand up for their area we will be deluged in no time at all.
  • Every step in the production of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems requires a perpetual input of fossil fuels – for smelting metals from ore, for process heat and power, international transport, and deployment. Silicon smelters, polysilicon refineries, and crystal growers around the world all depend on uninterrupted, 24/7 power that comes mostly from coal. Is solar energy really the best solution for reaching our net zero targets if all these factors are taken into account in the carbon calculation? Solar panels will only last 25-30 years, what is the carbon impact when they have to be replaced from scratch again?

We still need to bolster our fundraising in support of our legal representation and specialist reports. As you know it’s an expensive business, but the more we can raise the better the case we can put forward. Many of you have been very generous and we are extremely grateful, but if you still want to help, click on the DONATE button on our website. Time is now running out as we approach the Examination.

Thank You.

MPAG Committee

Virtual Flyover

By clicking 'Subscribe' you agree to your information being used in accordance with our Privacy Policy. You will also become a member of Mallard Pass Action Group in line with our Constitution.

We welcome your donations.

To stand the best chance of defeating Mallard Pass, we will require the expertise of specialists to identify and submit the relevant legal and material planning considerations during the Examination phase with the Planning Inspectorate.

We therefore intend to use the services of a Planning Consultant and a Junior Barrister to ensure we can represent the community effectively.

We need to raise at least £15,000 in advance.

Please donate generously either via:

GoFundMe page https://gofund.me/364ca897
BACs to Mallard Pass Action Group, Account no. 63032162, Sort Code 30-98-97

We want to assure you the funds will be used very wisely. Should there be any remaining at the end of the planning process we will contact all MPAG members by whatever means available to us, and offer some options for redistribution into community projects or specific charities.

Thank You

MPAG Committee