With the deadline for responses to the Government’s two GDF consultations approaching, it appears that there is a lot of discussion around three particular areas:
That is not to say there are not a wider range of issues under discussion, and BEIS have now produced FAQ sheets in response to a number of common and recurring questions raised at their regional consultation workshops. The Working With Communities FAQ sheet produced by BEIS can be found by clicking on the link, and the National Policy Statement FAQ sheet can be accessed here.
A number of organisations, eg the Cumbria Trust, Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) and Barlow Geosafety have already published their responses to the Working With Communities consultation. There are significant similarities between the Cumbria Trust and NFLA responses, expressing concerns that the process is potentially undemocratic by locking communities into a process from which they cannot actually escape. Such concerns are not shared by Barlow Geosafety, which has the exact opposite worry that Local Authorities may have a ‘veto’ which would undermine the democratic principles of community consent.
The Barlow Geosafety view on local authority ‘veto’ power would, from discussions with a wide range of stakeholders at the workshops and outside, appear to be the more common concern. GDFWatch are certainly concerned that any form of ‘veto’ power would fundamentally make the consent-based approach inoperable. Local Authorities also seem divided, with many concerned that such a ‘veto’ would simply lead to inertia.
It will be interesting to see the full range of views when responses are finally published. You are urged to ensure that your opinion is submitted by the 11.45pm deadline on Thursday 19 April. Instructions on how to submit your response can be found on the BEIS website.