Electricity Act 1989 - sections 36 and 37: applications guidance

This good practice guidance sets out the procedure for applications for onshore generating stations and overhead lines under sections 36 and 37 of the Electricity Act 1989, where the development concerned is development requiring environmental impact assessment.

3. Pre-Application

3.1. Pre-Application Discussion

3.1.1 Early engagement with ECU is encouraged to manage resources and casework and it is requested that applicants complete a Pre-application Form which is available at the following link: Pre-application – Notification of New Project Form. The service provided by ECU at this initial stage very much depends on the scope and scale of the project, and this can be discussed with the applicant following receipt of the Pre-application Form.

3.1.2 Following receipt of the form, ECU will contact the applicant within 21 days to discuss pre-application requirements – this would usually involve arranging a short introductory meeting to discuss the proposed development and the anticipated programme.

3.1.3 At pre-application discussions, it is useful for ECU to meet with the applicant and project team, and for the applicant to set out information on: the proposed development; site location and local context; planning policy and guidance; environmental designations and considerations; public consultation and engagement; the anticipated timescales for submission of the pre-application and application documentation; and project programme.

3.2. Pre-Application Consultation and Engagement

3.2.1 The carrying out of pre-application consultation with the public is considered good practice and applicants are encouraged to have meaningful engagement at the earliest possible stage with any communities or groups who would be affected by development proposals.

3.2.2 Whilst there are no statutory pre-application consultation procedures for section 36 and section 37 applications under the Electricity Act, the minimum expectation is that applicants carry out pre-application consultation as set out in Table 1 below. The applicant is asked to set out in advance to ECU how they will carry out pre-application consultation. Applicants for section 36 and 37 consents are asked to submit a pre-application consultation report with their application for proposed developments that are EIA developments.

Table 1: Pre-application consultation
Pre-application consultation events

The applicant is expected to hold at least two public consultation events prior to submitting the application. The final public event should be held at least 14 days after the first public event.

The public events are to give members of the public the opportunity to make comments to the applicant as regards the proposed development.

At the final public event, the applicant should provide feedback to members of the public in respect of comments received by the applicant as regards the proposed development.

Notice of the pre-application consultation events

At least seven days before holding a public event, the applicant should publish on the applicant's website and in a local newspaper circulating in the locality in which the proposed development is situated a notice containing:

  • a description of, and the location of, the proposed development;
  • details as to where further information may be obtained concerning the proposed development;
  • the date and place of the public event;
  • a statement explaining how, and by when, persons wishing to make comments to the applicant relating to the proposal may do so; and
  • a statement that comments made to the applicant are not representations to the Scottish Ministers and if the applicant submits an application there will be an opportunity to make representations on that application to the Scottish Ministers.
Details of the pre-application consultation events

The applicant should provide the following details at the public event and publish these details on the applicant's website:

  • a description of the development to be carried out;
  • a plan showing the outline of the site at which the development is to be carried out and sufficient to identify that site; and
  • details as to how the applicant may be contacted and corresponded with.
Content of public event and pre-application consultation report

The applicant is expected to prepare a pre-application consultation report ("PAC Report") setting out what has been done to accord with the guidance set out above. The PAC Report should be submitted with the application.

The PAC Report should contain the following information:

  • the dates on which and places where public events were held;
  • a description of any additional steps taken by the applicant to consult with members of the public regarding the development;
  • a list of bodies, groups and organisations who were consulted by the applicant and a description of how they were consulted;
  • a description of any materials sent to consultees and materials provided to those attending public events;
  • copies of any visual presentation shown or displayed at a public event, and photographs of any display boards or models at public events;
  • confirmation as to whether consultees and attendees at public events were informed that pre-application consultation does not remove the right or the potential need to comment on the final application once it is made to the Scottish Ministers;
  • a summary of the written responses to consultations and views raised at public events, including an indication of the number of written responses received and the number of persons who attended the public events;
  • an explanation of how the applicant took account of views raised during the pre-application consultation process; and
  • an explanation of how members of the public were given feedback on the applicant's consideration of the views raised during the pre-application consultation process.


Email: Econsents_Admin@gov.scot

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