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9.—(1) After obtaining a screening decision that a project is a relevant project and before applying for consent, the applicant may request the Scottish Ministers to give their opinion as to the information to be provided in the environmental statement.
(2) If a scoping opinion is requested, the Scottish Ministers shall notify the applicant of the date the request was received by them and shall consult the applicant and the consultation bodies as they think fit before they give their opinion.
(3) Except in relation to Scottish National Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, if the Scottish Ministers consider that any consultation bodies have an interest for the purposes of the scoping opinion, they shall notify the applicant of the identity of those bodies.
(4) If the Scottish Ministers consider that they have not been supplied with sufficient information to give a scoping opinion, they shall notify the applicant of the matters upon which they require additional information within 28 days of the date of receipt by them of the request for the opinion and shall notify the applicant of the date that additional information was received by them.
(5) The Scottish Ministers shall provide the applicant with a scoping opinion within 35 days of the date of receipt by them of the request for the opinion or from the date of receipt by them of any additional information requested in accordance with paragraph (4).
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