Today's entry reports on the increasing number of nationally
significant infrastructure project applications.
As of today, for the first time ten nationally significant
infrastructure projects are at their examination stage at the same
The examination stage is roughly the middle section between an
application being submitted and a decision being made. Once
an application is in, there is a variable period of what in
practice has averaged around four and a half months until the
holding of the 'preliminary meeting'. This has
depended on promoters and other factors and has varied between 120
and 190 days. The Heysham to M6 Link Road and Galloper
Offshore Windfarm projects have the distinction of being the
fastest and slowest respectively.
The preliminary meeting is the first, and potentially only,
meeting where all the parties can attend and make oral submissions.
The principal issues are aired, and bids are made for hearings. The
day after the preliminary meeting is the start of a (maximum)
six-month examination of the application by the examining inspector
or inspectors. Since the most recent preliminary meeting was
held yesterday, for the first time the number of projects in that
six-month period has reached double figures.
The ten projects are:
Kentish Flats offshore windfarm
Brechfa Forest West onshore windfarm
Hinkley Point C nuclear power station
Heysham to M6 link road
Preesall gas storage
Able Marine Energy Park
Galloper offshore windfarm
Triton Knoll offshore windfarm
East Northants Resource Managament Facility
Port Blyth biomass plant
The pipeline is less dry than before as well - there are three
more projects where applications have been made but the preliminary
meeting has yet to be held:
M1 junction 10a
Roosecote biomass plant
King's Lynn B electric line
Finally, although there are still no projects to have
fully emerged from the Planning Act process, three are in the what
you might call 'post-examination' phase:
Rookery South energy from waste
North Doncaster railway chord
Ipswich railway chord
The Planning Act regime came into being for applications on 1
March 2010. Two years ago the 'three pre-examination, 10
examination, three post-examination' figures were 'zero,
zero, zero' and one year ago they were 'two, one,
one'. With eighteen* applications having been made
altogether, is the Planning Act regime coming of age at last?
*I realise that 3+10+3 is less than eighteen, but two more
applications have been made but didn't progress for one reason
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