The Infrastructure Planning Commission has just announced that it has received its first formal applications for development consent.
The applications received this week are from Western Power Distribution for a 132,000V overhead electricity line to connect Maesgwyn wind farm in Banwen, Neath, to the grid and Covanta Rookery South for a 65MW energy from waste and materials recovery facility at Rookery South, in Bedfordshire.
The IPC will decide whether to accept or reject these applications within 28 days and if accepted will then pass them on to IPC commissioners for examination. From this point to the final decision on granting permission will take a year.
If the relevant National Policy Statement (NPS) has been designated - in this case three of which come under energy - this decision will be made by Commissioners. If not, the IPC will make recommendations to the relevant secretary of state to make the decision.
The IPC was set up under the previous government to fast track infrastructure schemes deemed to have national imprtance but the new coalition government has pledged to abolish it and replace it with a Major Infrastructure Planning Unit (MIPU) within the Planning Inspectorate by April 2012.
In addition, the government has now decided to subject the energy NPS - the most advanced through the designation process - to reconsultation in the autumn.
“A major priority for us over the next few weeks is to continue our work with communities who are affected by these proposals, to ensure that the process is understood and people know how and when to register to have their say,” said IPC chair Sir Michael Pitt.
The IPC also holds a list of 49 projects that it anticipates will submit formal applications in the coming months.
The list comprises: 11 offshore wind farms; seven onshore wind farms; six electricity lines; five roads; four nuclear power stations; four biomass power stations; four railway/rail freight schemes; two gas fired power stations; two waste combustion plants; one tidal power generation facility; one gas storage facility; one gas pipeline; and one waste water facility.