Developers of major energy projects in England and Wales will now have greater certainty on how planning applications will be considered after the Energy National Policy Statements (NPS) were designated following approval in the House of Commons.
The independent Infrastructure Planning Commission will now use the NPSs to inform planning decisions. The NPSs will be used in future for recommendations by the IPC’s successor, subject to passage of the Localism Bill.
The designation means that the NPSs now have effect when companies submit planning applications for new nuclear power stations at any of the eight locations listed in the Nuclear NPS.
“Far too often the planning system has resulted in delay and indecision over major energy projects and things simply not getting built,” said Energy minister Charles Hendry.
“We are removing uncertainty to give industry the confidence to invest in much needed new energy infrastructure in this country.”
The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) welcomed the decision.
“ACE members and their clients consistently highlight delays and uncertainties in the planning process as a major block to development,” said ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin.
“Significant investment is needed in the UK’s core energy infrastructure in a relatively short time, so these have not arrived a moment too soon.”
The National Policy Statements for Energy have been in development for around two years, having first been drafted in 2009.