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Infrastructure Show: Hinkley Point planning application set to stretch IPC resources

Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) chair Sir Michael Pitt has said estimates indicate that the lengthy IPC application for nuclear project Hinkley Point C could take three times the usual number of staff to process.

Pitt told an audience at NCE’s Infrastructure Show yesterday that the latest estimates indicate Hinkley Point C’s application — due later this year — could be up to 80,000 pages long, meaning three commissioners would probably be required to process the application, rather than one, as is normally the case.

Pitt said he wanted to see more streamlined applications in future because of the excessive time and resources required for a project promoter to prepare an 80,000 page application, and for the IPC to then read it.

But he said Hinkley was a “pioneer” project — one of the earliest to apply to the IPC — and it therefore had not been able to rely on past precedent for guidance on how long an application should be, or how it could be streamlined. Other nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIP) may be delaying their IPC applications until that precedent is set, effectively playing a game of “follow my leader” so they can learn from others’ costly mistakes, Pitt said.

He said no figures for the actual page length of Hinkley Point C’s application have been confirmed yet. “There may be a degree of over-engineering going on. If it is 80,000 I would wonder whether that is proportional to the project.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Antony Oliver should look no further for one of the causes of inflated project costs in this country.

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