Handling environmental appeals through hearings or local inquiries: code of practice

Planning and Environmental Appeals Division code of practice on procedures for handling environmental appeals.

Annex B: Inquiry Sessions

1. Notice of inquiry session and specified matters

(1) The reporter will give written notice (a "procedure notice") of the scope of the inquiry session to the appellant, SEPA and any body or person who has been notified of the appeal under the relevant legislation, or who has made representations in the appeal (the parties).

(2) The procedure notice will set out the matters to be considered at the inquiry session. Only those specified matters will be considered at the inquiry session.

(3) The reporter may also send a procedure notice to any other person or body that, in the opinion of the reporter, may be able to provide information on the matters specified in the notice.

(4) Anybody given the procedure notice and who intends to appear at the inquiry session must, within 14 days of the date of the notice, inform the reporter in writing of that intention.

2. Appearances at inquiry session

(1) Those entitled to appear at the inquiry session are;

(a) the appellant

(b) SEPA; and

(c) anybody else who, in response to the procedure notice, has informed the reporter of their intention to appear at the hearing session in accordance with paragraph 1(4) above

3. Date and notification of inquiry

(1) The date, time and place for the inquiry session will be set (and may subsequently be varied) by the reporter. Unless the appellant and SEPA agree to a shorter period of notice, the reporter will give at least 28 days' notice of those arrangements, or any subsequent variation of them, to all those entitled to appear at the inquiry session.

4. Service of inquiry statements, documents and precognitions

(1) The reporter may, by notice, require those entitled to appear at the inquiry session to send him/her, by the date specified in the notice;

(a) an inquiry statement

(b) a copy of every document (or the relevant part of a document) on the list of documents comprised in that inquiry statement; and

(c) a precognition in respect of any evidence to be given to the inquiry session by a person included on the list of witnesses comprised in that inquiry statement

(2) The appellant and SEPA must send each other copies of their inquiry statement, supporting documents and precognitions. Other participants who have been asked to submit an inquiry statement and any supporting documents and precognitions must copy these to the appellant and to SEPA at the same time as these are sent to the reporter.

(3) The reporter may direct the appellant and/or SEPA to send a copy of their inquiry statement, supporting documents and precognitions to other participants. The reporter may direct other participants who have been asked to submit an inquiry statement and any supporting documents and precognitions to copy these to participants other than the appellant and SEPA.

(4) In this paragraph "inquiry statement" is a written statement which contains particulars of the case relating to the specified matters which a person proposes to put forward to an inquiry session, and includes;

(a) a list of documents (if any) which the inquiry participant intends to refer to, rely on or put in evidence; and

(b) a list of witnesses, specifying the persons who will give (or be called to give) evidence at the inquiry session, noting the matters on which those people are to give evidence and any relevant qualifications they hold in relation to those matters

"precognition" means a written statement of the evidence which a witness will give to the inquiry session. Unless the reporter otherwise agrees, it must not contain more than 2000 words.

5. Procedure at inquiry session

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this Annex, the reporter will decide the procedure to be followed at the inquiry session.

(2) The reporter will, having considered any submission by inquiry participants, state at the beginning of the inquiry session the procedure which the reporter proposes to adopt. In particular, the reporter will state;

(a) the order in which the specified matters are to be considered at the inquiry session; and

(b) the order in which the inquiry participants will be heard in relation to a specified matter (a different order may be chosen for different specified matters)

(3) Anybody entitled to appear at the inquiry session may do so on their own behalf or be represented by another person.

(4) Where two or more persons or bodies have a similar interest in the matter under inquiry, the reporter may allow or encourage one or more of them to appear for the benefit of some or all.

(5) Subject to sub-paragraph (6), any inquiry participant is entitled to call evidence and to cross-examine others giving evidence and to make a closing statement.

(6) The reporter may refuse to permit;

(a) the giving or production of evidence

(b) the cross-examination of persons giving evidence; or

(c) the presentation of any other matter, which the reporter considers to be irrelevant or repetitious

(7) If any person entitled to appear at the inquiry session fails to do so, the reporter may proceed with the inquiry session at his/her discretion.

(8) The reporter may from time to time adjourn the inquiry session and, if the date, time and place of the adjourned inquiry session are announced before the adjournment, no further notice is required. Otherwise, participants will be advised of the new arrangements in line with paragraph 3 above.

6. Site inspection

(1) Before the end of the inquiry session, the reporter will decide whether there is to be an inspection of the site, specific to the matters which are the subject of the inquiry session, accompanied by the parties involved in the inquiry session. This may be in addition to an earlier inspection of the site made by the reporter.


Email: Central Enquiries Unit ceu@gov.scot

Back to top