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IPC leads on power

Energy minister David Kidney said last week that the first energy National Policy Statements (NPS) will be published early next month.

Following the announcement, the Department for Energy and Climate Change confirmed that all six energy NPSs would be published at the same time.

Other statements in the 4,000 page series of documents will include a generic energy statement and statements on renewable energy, fossil fuels, oil & gas supply and storage, electricity networks and power lines.

Among the projects the Infrastructure Planning Commision (IPC) will consider are plans for two new nuclear power stations − Hinckley Point C and Sizewell C − which have been submitted by EDF, in addition to associated grid connections in a separate submission by National Grid. Five major wind farms and are on the list, as well as a biomass power plant.

“In order to thrive in the 21st century we need to deliver new infrastructure to replace ageing water, energy and transport networks.”

Tom Foulkes, ICE

“The projects we are highlighting… raise important issues for the nation and for local communities and we want the public to have confidence that their views will be heard. In every case there will be an opportunity for an open floor hearing as part of the IPC examination process,” said IPC chair Sir Michael Pitt.

ICE director general Tom Foulkes said prioritising projects was vital. “In order to thrive in the 21st century we need to deliver new infrastructure to replace ageing water, energy and transport networks,” he said.

“Using the guidance provided by the NPS, the IPC will provide a streamlined planning process, providing more predictable outcomes and lower costs.”

Pitt added: “We expect many more proposals to follow in the near future, as promoters begin to undertake the extensive public consultation which they must carry out under the new regime, before they can submit applications to the IPC.

In due course

The IPC will begin taking applications from 1 March 2010 and will continue to run as an advisory body in the meantime.

Further NPSs will be published in due course. They will cover ports, transport networks, aviation, wastewater, hazardous waste, and water supply. Where applications exist without NPSs, the IPC will seek the approval of the relevant Secretary of State.

The IPC was created by the 2008 Planning Act to streamline the planning process for major projects. National infrastructure plans are set out in NPSs, and the IPC then decides which projects best fit them.

The Conservatives have pledged to scrap the IPC if they win the next election (News last week).

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