The Process

Overview

Solar projects in Wales which are above 10MW of power output are classed as Developments of National Significance (DNS). Unlike planning applications which are determined by the Local Planning Authority, all applications for DNS projects are instead made directly to the Welsh Government. This process is managed by the Planning Inspectorate Wales who has set out clear guidance for the procedures a DNS project must follow. Decisions are made in the context of the Welsh Government's national planning policy and the local authority's Local Development Plan.

A flowchart of the DNS process is provided below:

https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2019-11/developments-of-national-significance-dns-procedural-guidance.pdf

Early engagement

Following early engagement with Monmouthshire County Council and other groups, we submitted a Screening Request to the Welsh Government to request an opinion on whether the project would require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), as defined by the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Wales) Regulations 2017. The Welsh Government issued a Screening Direction on 12th November 2020 which confirmed that an EIA would not be required as the development is unlikely to have significant effects on the environment.

On 21 December 2020, we gave formal notification to the Welsh Ministers of its intention to make an application for DNS under section 62D of the Town and Country Planning Act.

On 26 January 2021, the Planning Inspectorate published their Notice of Acceptance which sets out a 12 month deadline for us to carry out further statutory consultation and formally submit the application to the Planning Inspectorate.

In February 2021, we undertook preliminary engagement with the community to obtain initial feedback on the proposed project and to provide an overview of the process. As part of this engagement, we mailed over 320 residences in the Llanover Community providing initial information on our proposal and inviting any feedback.

Information leaflet – February 2021

We also held community stakeholder briefings to provide information on our proposals and the process we are taking as we move towards submission of our application. Information that we shared is provided in the links below:

Stakeholder briefing – March 2021

We have reflected on the feedback we have received from local residents and stakeholders and, where possible, have amended the proposal in response to the comments received.

Statutory pre-application consultation

It is a requirement of the DNS process that applicants must consult on their plans for a period of 42 days. This is to provide technical and community stakeholders, and local people, an opportunity to provide feedback on the project and the assessments produced in support of our plans.

In support of this consultation, we have written to specific community consultees, including representatives from Monmouthshire County Council and Llanover Community Council, to inform them of our proposals and directing them to the documents uploaded on this website.

In addition, we have sent a community newsletter to over 320 homes in the local area to inform people of our consultation and directing them to the website to allow them to view our proposals and provide feedback.

Community newsletter – June 2021

We will also be advertising this consultation in the Abergavenny Chronicle and placing notices around the site to ensure people in close proximity are informed.

Public notice - June 2021

Consultation events

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, plans for undertaking community consultation are different to what we would usually propose. While this means we will not have the opportunity to undertake face-to-face events, we will be undertaking two virtual events where we will present our proposals and invite questions from local people. These will take place as follows:

You can register for either event at the links above.

Submission and determination

Once our formal consultation has been completed, Great House Energy Centre will be undertaking a period of review to reflect on all the feedback received from all consultees during the public consultation process. All feedback will be recorded and we will provide specific details of how we intend to respond to each point in turn.

The final project designs along with all the application documentation will then be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. Once submitted, the Planning Inspectorate has a period of 28 days to decide whether the application is valid and contains the minimum general requirements that a DNS application must consist of.

The determination period for the Welsh Ministers to make a decision on a DNS application is 36 weeks from the date of acceptance of the valid application.

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