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Last edited 21 Jan 2021
Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects 100th decision
|The A1 Birtley to Coalhouse Improvement Scheme was the 100th NSIP decision.|
“This is a significant milestone, particularly bearing in mind the challenges posed by working through three separate lockdown periods in the last 12 months,” says Sarah Richards, Chief Executive of The Planning Inspectorate. “We have had to change how we work over the past few months and have done so with great success. We are aware that we have to keep evolving and challenging ourselves as an organisation in order to keep improving,” she added.
NSIPs are usually large-scale developments such as new harbours, power generating stations (including wind farms) and electricity transmission lines which require development consent under procedures governed by the Planning Act 2008 (as amended). These projects are not only significant in their importance to the country but are large applications of particular interest to many local people. Of the 100 projects decided as of January 2021, 61 were related to energy, 36 transport, two waste and one waste water.
The nationally significant decisions made under the Planning Act 2008 are evaluated based on a streamlined process that provides fairer and faster outcomes for communities and developers. Prior to the introduction of the 2008 Act, it could take several years to decide major planning applications. Under the Act, there are strict timescales imposed on key stages of the process, and it typically takes 14 to 16 months from the day an application is submitted to a decision being made.
The 2008 Act sets out thresholds above which certain types of infrastructure development are considered to be nationally significant and require development consent. In England, the Planning Inspectorate examines applications for development consent from the energy, transport, waste, waste water, water and business and commercial sectors. In Wales, it examines applications for energy and harbour development, subject to detailed provisions in the Act; other matters are for Welsh Ministers.
The Planning Inspectorate places great importance on being fair, open and impartial. No matter the type, size or location of a project, it ensures that local communities have the opportunity to make their views known and are able to participate in the examination process. The examinations of projects to date considered thousands of written representations and examiners have heard directly from thousands of affected people at Hearings held in the locality of the projects.
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