The Preliminary Hearing is the last part of the Pre-Examination stage of the DCO process before the main 6 month Examination begins.
Since the Examination can only strictly be a maximum of 6 months the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) do their best to plan a timetable up front to ensure the best use of time during the Examination period.
PINS will invite those that have registered as Interested Parties to attend the Preliminary Hearing, and to share views about any procedural matters in advance of the Preliminary Hearing. This will be done via a letter that is known as ‘Rule 6’, most often sent via email so watch your inbox for that.
The Preliminary Hearing is to discuss the draft Examination timetable and procedural matters, it is not for making representations about the project, that comes in the Examination.
Once the Preliminary Hearing has taken place the Examination begins immediately after.
We will find out the date in the ‘Rule 6’ letter.
Please note that following the announcement by PINS that NH are planning to hold yet another round of consultation, and Thurrock Council have requested an extension to the Pre-examination stage of the DCO process, the ‘Rule 6’ letter and Preliminary Hearing are expected to be later than first anticipated. Watch this space!