Thank you for completing The Planning Inspectorate's virtual hearings Questionnaire


Dear Supporter,

As you are aware the Preliminary Meetings and Hearings set for 24th, 25th and 26th March were postponed due to Coronavirus.  On 21st March, the Planning Inspectorate sent a letter, with a link to their Frequently Asked Questions, inviting the public to give their opinion, via an online questionnaire, on the subject of holding the Hearings virtually.  To achieve a fair and participatory planning examination of both EA1N and EA2 we are calling for the Hearings to be postponed until March 2021 or until such time as face to face Hearings can be held as originally planned.  

The SEAS team are asking all our supporters to fill in the online questionnaire to reflect the unsuitability and unworkability of virtual Hearings.  Most are multiple choice questions, but a couple have space to write more. Below are suggested answers to the questionnaire.  Please feel free to use these as you wish.  The deadline is 5 pm, Thursday 11 June 2020.

Of particular importance are:-

Question 5

Both EA1N and EA2 have relevance to the East Suffolk coast so please tick  

  • Both Applications

Question 6

If you did not manage to register as an Interested Party, then please feel free to use the SEAS group registration identity numbers:

  • EA1N  20024494 and EA2  20024496

Question 9

Even if you are uncertain about your future contribution to the Hearings you have nothing to lose by keeping your options open (you are not committing to participating) and you will be showing a continued interest by positively engaging with the process.   So we would advise that you tick either

  • I do not know at this stage whether I will need to participate in any virtual Hearing events as either a speaker or as an observer, but would like to keep my options open (I may also make additional written submissions too)

Or if you are more certain

  • I anticipate needing to participate in one or more virtual Hearing events as either a speaker or as an observer (I may also make additional written submissions too)

Question 10

The majority of you will probably not be directly affected by compulsory acquisition or temporary possession so we would suggest ticking (you can tick as many as you like)

  • An Open Floor Hearing (OFH)


  • Any Issue Specific Hearings that may be held on topics of interest to me

Question 11

Again, if you feel you are able, keep your options open and tick

  • I am likely to wish to speak


  • I don't know, but I may possibly speak

Question 13

We suggest you choose the following

  • I am not an Affected Person but I would like to observe any Compulsory Acquisition Hearing

Question 14

If you know you are able to speak then please fill in accordingly.  Even if you don't think you will speak, it would be positive to keep your options open and tick (you will not be committed!)

  • I don't know, but I may possibly speak

Question 15

Of particular importance to the Campaign.  

  • Landscapes
  • Historic environment onshore
  • The onshore cable route
  • The proposed grid connection
  • Relationships with other major projects or proposals
  • Social and economic effects onshore (including employment, tourism, land-use traffic and transport)
  • The draft Development Consent Order (dDCO) and any related documents or plans

Question 17

We don't believe that a fair and participatory Hearing is possible virtually.  Therefore it is key to tick

  • No, I would not be content to participate this way

Questions 24

To portray the technological difficulties and limitations that will be inevitable with virtual Hearings please tick

  • Not at all confident

Question 27

Again, for reasons as per question 24, we would advise

  • Not at all confident

Question 28

This question is important in emphasising the unsuitability of video/audio.  Please tick as many of the below as you feel are appropriate

  • The internet in my area is slow, intermittent or has other performance issues
  • The computer, tablet, network equipment or telephone available to me has performance issues
  • I am not a confident user of internet connected or computer technology
  • I am not confident on the telephone
  • I do not agree that a video conference is suitable for hearing events
  • I do not agree that audio (including telephone) conferences are suitable for hearing events

Question 29

This is an opportunity to add some suggested text.

Virtual meetings/hearings such as Zoom are not viable for this particular DCO examination especially as there are over 800 Interested Parties (other DCO examinations have between 50 and 200).   Audio lag cannot be overcome, meaning people talk over each other, while muting could mean people not having the chance to speak on anything missed out by a previous speaker.  Many of us are not professionally trained speakers and the Zoom or other virtual formats do not encourage participation for the camera shy or the typical collective group.  If you combine the above with the fact that fibre broadband is not available to many in the area and broadband frequently drops out, then the whole participatory nature of the hearings will become an unworkable farce.

Question 30

A small space for suggested text:

Postpone these Hearings until March 2021 when face to face Hearings can be held as originally planned

Question 31

Again an opportunity to add some suggested text

Written submissions are possible and some supporters will be happy to write, but the majority would like the public arena forum to hear the discussion and feel relaxed to speak up with their friends' moral support.  In order to achieve this these Hearings should be postponed until March 2021 or until such time as a face to face Hearings can take place. With a postponement visits to specific sites could take place in the summer with social distancing in place.  Currently, due to Covid-19, it is not possible for many of our local campaign supporters to give serious thought to their submissions at this hugely difficult time.  Some are key workers, some are entrepreneurs trying to keep their businesses afloat, some are caring for their families, some are volunteers for Covid-19 special emergency services in the local area, most have more work to do than usual.  Due to Covid-19, the Norfolk Boreas Windfarm DCO has been postponed from 12 May until 12 October 2020.  

Question 32

A final opportunity to add some text

To conclude, any kind of video/telephone conferencing is both unsuitable and unworkable.   To achieve a fair and participatory consultation these Hearings should be postponed until March 2021.

The next 10 months should be dedicated to calling for a full Review for East Anglia offshore transmission infrastructure as a whole.  BEIS should be focused on exploring better holistic solutions during these ten months working with DEFRA, National Grid, Ofgem and specialist offshore engineers to develop an alternative plan for a more cost efficient and less environmentally damaging offshore modular grid. This can be achieved at a lower price in just four years, not ten as SPR and others state. National Grid could have been working on this over a decade ago, but now there is no time to lose. BEIS must seize this opportunity to review a faster holistic strategy which will avoid lengthy mitigation processes and judicial reviews and provide a win: win: win outcome.

Win: for the environment

Win: for cost efficiencies

Win: for renewables and their developers

It just requires political will to make this happen.

Yes to Offshore Wind Energy

Let's do it Right


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