Published: Thursday, 18th February 2016
The planning regime for so-called Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) has reached a key milestone with development consent for a power plant in King’s Lynn.
The Palm Paper combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) is the 50th scheme to be determined under the planning regime established by the Planning Act 2008 (as amended).
Under these arrangements projects are examined by the Planning inspectorate before determination by the relevant Secretary of State.
Steve Quartermain, Chief Executive of the Planning Inspectorate, said: “This is a significant milestone. Every application has met the statutory timescales laid down in the Planning Act 2008 for examination by the Inspectorate.
“This is a tremendous achievement for our inspectors and casework staff. The regime is a success as it has streamlined the decision making process for the major infrastructure that the country needs whilst ensuring proposals are properly and robustly examined and ensuring local people can have their say.”
Of the 50 projects examined by the Inspectorate, 31 were energy, 16 transport, two waste and one waste water developments.
Infrastructure planning expert Angus Walker from Bircham Dyson Bell noted that the 50th project was for a generation scheme mainly for the promoter’s own industrial processes.
“There was a bit of a disagreement between the inspector and Natural England on the assessment of effects on three Nature 2000 sites from air quality impacts.
“The former disagreed with the approach of both the latter and an ‘air quality technical advisory group’ of experts from Natural England, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales.
“Nevertheless the government concluded that there was no significant effect on the sites from the project. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of the consequences of air quality impacts on projects.”