5. Submission of the Application
5.1. Gate Check
5.1.1 Prior to an application being submitted, there is a two-stage "gate check" process. For gate check stage 1, the applicant provides a gate check 1 report which sets out the how the applicant is going to address the matters set out in the scoping opinion in the EIA report. The principal function of gate check stage 2 is to manage the administrative requirements of the submission of the application. Further details on each gate check stage is provided below.
Gate Check Stage 1
5.1.2 The purpose of gate check stage 1 is to set out how the Scottish Ministers' and consultee comments provided in the scoping opinion are to be addressed by the applicant and taken forward in the EIA report. This process seeks to ensure efficient determination timescales and has been found to reduce the need for additional information during the application process (see section 6.4 below).
5.1.3 At gate check 1, the applicant submits a gate check 1 report to the ECU. ECU review the report and seek comments from key consultees (for example SEPA, NatureScot, HES and the planning authority) on the approach of the proposed EIA report. This allows for further dialogue with ECU, the applicant and key consultees, and allows the applicant to:
- seek feedback on departures from methodology agreed at scoping stage;
- seek feedback on the scope of the assessment following any changes to the proposed development from the scoping stage; and
- provide an opportunity to highlight any key matters prior to the application being submitted.
5.1.4 Where appropriate, ECU can assist in further engagement with key consultees to discuss potential issues with the intention of the applicant addressing them prior to the submission of the application.
5.1.5 The gate check 1 report is submitted nearing the time of design freeze (i.e. when the applicant has finalised the design and layout of the proposed development) and in any event at least 3 months prior to the application being submitted. The submission of the gate check 1 report should ensure sufficient time to take into account any comments received prior to the completion of the application.
5.1.6 As a guide, the gate check 1 report will contain but is not limited to details of:
- the iterations of the design;
- interactions with the statutory (and non-statutory) consultees, as well as engagement with the local community;
- the advice the applicant has received since the scoping consultation and how it has taken that advice forward;
- a summary of how the applicant has approached or proposes to approach (if it has not already done so) the key matters raised in the scoping opinion and subsequent engagement; and
- the timeline for the submission of the application with anticipated dates for adverts, consultees lists, and proposed locations of the EIA report for public viewing.
Gate Check Stage 2
5.1.7 The principal function of gate check stage 2 is to manage the administrative requirements of submission of an application under section 36 or 37 of the Electricity Act. This stage consists of confirming the administration process with ECU regarding the formal submission of the application, including uploading the documents to the ECU portal, payment of application fees to the ECU, and dealing with notices.
5.1.8 This process should take place not less than two weeks before submission of the application.
5.2. Content of Application
5.2.1 The information for inclusion in EIA reports is set out in Regulation 5 and Schedule 4 of the EIA Regulations.
5.2.2 As a guide, an application under section 36 or 37 of the Electricity Act for EIA development should contain the following:
- a cover letter requesting the consent and where relevant the deemed planning permission;
- a planning statement;
- a detailed map showing the land where the proposed development would be built or the electric line(s) installed including detailed infrastructure, access routes etc. Further detailed maps on specific aspects of the EIA report will also be required;
- the fee to be paid as set out in section 5.3 below;
- a hard copy of the EIA report, including references to the technical appendices;
- a CD copy of the EIA report;
- a non-technical summary of the EIA report setting out, in lay terms, the significant environmental effects of the proposed development; and
- a separate schedule of mitigation.
5.2.3 A section 36 application should also clearly set out the detail of the generation station(s) that consent is being sought for. For each generating component, details of the proposal should include:
- the scale of the development (for example dimensions of the wind turbines, solar panels, battery storage);
- components required for each generating station; and
- for battery storage, the approximate export capacity in megawatts and megawatt hours.
5.2.4 A section 37 application should also state the length of the proposed line, its nominal voltage and whether all necessary wayleaves have been agreed with the owners and occupiers of land proposed to be crossed by the line. Separate guidance on necessary wayleaves is available here: Necessary wayleaves: application form and guidance.
5.3.1 Applications that need the consent of Scottish Ministers incur a fee under The Electricity (Applications for Consent and Variation of Consent) (Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2019. In order to determine the correct fee to be paid on making an application, an online fee calculator is available. Further details on application fees can be found at "Application and fee requirements" on the relevant ECU webpage.
5.4.1 Following the submission of an application and EIA report to ECU, a notice is published by the applicant in the relevant newspapers and on the application website. Similar to the scoping stage, a consultee list is prepared and includes the names and contact details (including up to date email addresses) of all consultees. The consultation bodies to be consulted by the Scottish Ministers at application stage are the relevant planning authority, NatureScot, SEPA and HES and any other relevant public bodies with specific environmental responsibilities or local and regional competencies who the Scottish Ministers consider are likely to have an interest.
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