Energy giant EdF said this week that the new coalition government’s plan to axe the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) would not hamper its new nuclear programme.
EdF is planning to build nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk.
Its planning application for Hinkley Point was expected to be one of the first schemes examined by the IPC and it began considering applications on 1 March.
It was designed to fast-track projects of national importance, including a new round of new nuclear power stations.
However, the coalition government has vowed to scrap the IPC in its first parliament via the Decentralisation and Localism Bill. It was introduced in last month’s Queen’s Speech.
EdF said it was happy to push ahead under the coalition’s new system, which will retain national policy statements (NPS) as the basis for major planning decisions.
“Commitments are in place on a low carbon future and on planning reform for major infrastructure,” said an EdF spokesman.
“Vital next steps are for the NPS on energy infrastructure to be brought before Parliament for ratification by a vote, as set out in the coalition agreement.
Whether EdF could make an application to the IPC before it is formally disbanded remains unclear. The Department for Communities and Local Government said the coalition had pledged to change the IPC so any applications will be going through “the successor system”.
But the Department for Energy and Climate Change said it depended on the timing of applications.
“If submissions are made before the IPC is abolished, then the IPC will take the projects through, but if applications go in afterwards, then they will be seen by the new organisation,” said a spokesman.