4. Scoping and consultation at the pre-application stage
4.1. Where flexibility is sought, there are clear benefits in formally seeking a scoping opinion from the Scottish Ministers under the EIA Regulations to inform the scope and level of detail to be provided in the EIA report – this will include consultation with relevant statutory consultees.
4.2. For both offshore and onshore applications, 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. Guidance for onshore projects is included in the ECU's good practice guidance on onshore applications, which can be found at the following link Energy consents - Energy infrastructure. For offshore applications, the Marine Licensing (Pre-application Consultation) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 apply out to 12 nautical miles and contain legislative requirements on pre-application consultation. Further guidance can be found in MS's Guidance on Marine Licensable Activities subject to Pre-Application Consultation.
4.3. It will be important for consultation bodies and communities to understand what flexibilities will be sought within the range of parameters and what the 'worst case' impact would be for their interests. Applicants should seek to ensure that additional complexities are fully explained at the pre-application stage in order for interested parties to be able to usefully comment.
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