We understand that a number of opponent submitters are concerned about the section in the GWRC submission form that asks us to identify whether we wish to request an Independent Commissioner to hear and decide the application because of the potential cost implications identified. Please note, this question is only relevant where Council hearings are concerned. As you know, WIAL has asked for the hearing to be directly referred to the Environment Court. If that happens, this question becomes irrelevant.
The Councils have not yet released a decision on whether they will refer the application directly to the Environment Court, which is why the question asking whether submitters want an Independent Commissioner remains in the GWRC template submission form. However, submitters will find this out before the submission period closes on 12 August 2016. For this reason, we suggest submitters not concern themselves with this question at this stage and await the decision on direct referral. We consider that it is highly likely that the application will be referred to the Environment Court. We will update our website when the Councils release their decision on direct referral.