UK: Energy National Policy Statements Published By DECC

Last Updated: 21 July 2011
Article by Humphrey Douglas and Wei Wu

On 23 June 2011 the Department of Energy and Climate Change published the finalised Energy National Policy Statements (NPSs). This follows an initial consultation on the first draft of the Energy NPSs between November 2009 and February 2010 launched by the previous Government and a second consultation on the revised draft Energy NPSs between 18 October 2010 and 24 January 2011.

The Energy NPSs set out national policy on a number of key energy policy areas. Five of these cover specific technologies: fossil fuels; renewable energy; gas supply and gas and oil pipelines; electricity networks; and nuclear. These five sit below an overarching Energy NPS framework, and play an important role in the new planning system for major energy infrastructure.

The Energy NPSs are described as a blueprint for decision-making on individual applications for development consent for nationally significant energy infrastructure. It is said that the Energy NPSs will clearly set out the Government's policy in so far as it relates to planning applications for major energy infrastructure and will give investors the certainty they need to bring forward proposals to maintain security of supply and ensure progress towards decarbonisation.

Overarching Energy NPS (EN-1)

EN-1 may be helpful to local planning authorities in preparing their local impact reports as it has effect, in combination with the relevant technology-specific NPS (see below), on the decisions by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) on applications for energy developments that fall within the scope of each of the technology-specific NPSs.

The Planning Act 2008 (PA 2008) sets out the thresholds for nationally significant infrastructure projects in the energy sector. The PA 2008 empowers the IPC to examine applications and make decisions on the following nationally significant energy infrastructure projects:

  • Electricity generating stations generating more than 50 megawatts (MW) onshore and 100MW offshore

This includes generation from fossil fuels, wind, biomass, waste and nuclear. For these types of infrastructure, EN-1, in conjunction with EN-2 on fossil fuel generating stations, EN-3 on renewable energy infrastructure or EN-6 on nuclear power generation as appropriate, will be the primary basis for IPC decision-making.

  • Electricity lines at or above 132 kilovolt (kV)

EN-1, in conjunction with EN-5 on Electricity Networks, will be the primary basis for IPC decision-making.

  • Large gas reception and liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities and underground gas storage facilities

EN-1 in conjunction with EN-4 on Gas Supply Infrastructure and Gas and Oil Pipelines, will be the primary basis for IPC decision-making.

  • Cross-country gas and oil pipelines and Gas Transporter pipelines

EN-1, in conjunction with EN-4 on Gas Supply Infrastructure and Gas and Oil Pipelines, will be the primary basis for IPC decision-making.

Technology-specific NPSs


Technology-specific NPS

Infrastructure covered


Fossil Fuel Electricity Generating Infrastructure


Electricity generating infrastructure of the following types over 50MW electricity generating capacity:

  • coal-fired;
  • gas-fired;
  • integrated coal gasification combined cycle; and
  • oil-fired.



Renewable Energy Infrastructure


Energy from biomass and/or waste (>50 MW);

Offshore wind (>100MW); and

Onshore wind (>50MW)



Gas Supply Infrastructure and Gas and Oil Pipelines


Underground gas storage and LNG facilities which meet one of the following two tests:

  • Storage or working capacity test: a project would pass this test if the storage capacity on completion of the proposal is expected to be at least 43 million standard cubic metres (Mcm) of gas or higher; or
  • Maximum flow rate test: a project would pass this test if it has a projected delivery flow rate of at least 4.5 million standard cubic metres of gas per day (Mcm/d).

Gas reception facilities with a projected maximum flow rate of at least 4.5 Mcm/d (no capacity test).

Gas transporter pipelines which are:

  • expected to be more than 800mm in diameter and more than 40 kilometres (km) in length; or
  • likely to have a significant effect on the environment. The design operating pressure must be expected to be more than 7 bar gauge.

The pipeline must be expected to convey natural gas for supply to at least 50,000 potential customers.

Pipelines over 16,093km (10 miles) long which would otherwise require consent under section 1 Pipe-lines Act 1962 together with diversions to such pipelines regardless of length.



Electricity Networks Infrastructure


Ground electricity lines whose nominal voltage is expected to be 132 kV or above of electricity networks which can be generally divided into the following two main elements:

  • transmission systems (the long distance transfer of electricity through 400kV and 275kV lines), and distribution systems (lower voltage lines from 132kV to 230V from transmission substations to the enduser) which can either be carried on towers/poles or undergrounded; and
  • associated infrastructure, eg, substations (the essential link between generation, transmission, and the distribution systems that also allows circuits to be switched or voltage transformed to a useable level for the consumer) and converter stations to convert DC power to AC power and vice versa



Nuclear Power Generation


Capacity of more than 50MW on the following sites:

  • Bradwell;
  • Hartlepool;
  • Heysham;
  • Hinkley Point;
  • Oldbury;
  • Sizewell;
  • Sellafield; and
  • Wylfa.


Next steps

The Energy NPSs have been laid before Parliament and the House of Commons plans to hold a debate and vote on their approval. If Parliament approves the Energy NPSs, the Government plans to designate them as soon as possible thereafter.

In addition, in line with the Planning Act 2008, the NPSs were drafted on the basis that once they are designated, the IPC will be the decision-making body on applications for development consent. However, following the election in May 2010, the Coalition Government announced that it intended to abolish the IPC and replace it with a Major Infrastructure Planning Unit (MIPU) based in the Planning Inspectorate, with decision-making returning to Ministers. Legislation to enact the abolition of the IPC is proposed in the Localism Bill currently before Parliament.

If these provisions are enacted, then once they enter into force, examination of applications would be carried out by the new MIPU, which would make recommendations to Ministers, who would take final decisions on applications. Both MIPU and Ministers would need to follow the policy framework provided in the NPSs, subject to limited exceptions set out in the PA 2008. In the case of energy projects, this function would be carried out by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.


Planning has historically been one of the biggest impediments to getting UK energy projects developed promptly and the PA 2008 together with associated NPSs are designed to unblock planning delays. Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy, commented on the finalised Energy NPSs:

"Around a quarter of the UK's generating capacity is due to close by the end of this decade. We need to replace this with secure, low carbon, affordable energy. This will require over Ł100 billion worth of investment in electricity generation and transmission alone. Industry needs as much certainty as possible to make such big investments. These plans set out our energy need to help guide the planning process, so that if acceptable proposals come forward in appropriate places, they will not face unnecessary hold-ups."

Given the changes in planning policy administration since the PA 2008, the finalised Energy NPSs should provide greater certainty to investors. Whilst the PA onus is now on developers to have consultation and other matters in hand before planning applications are submitted, the prioritisation of infrastructure projects covered by the Energy NPSs are a wide-ranging and positive step for most developers. Whilst it remains to be seen whether this will speed the planning process in the short term, medium and longer term debottle-necking should follow.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.