UK approves energy planning reforms easing the way for new nuclear power projects

Source: UK Department of Energy and Climate Change

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. This follows approval in a House of Commons vote. 

The independent Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) will now use the NPSs to inform planning decisions. The NPSs will be used in the 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. 

Charles Hendry, Minister for Energy said: 

“Far too often the planning system has resulted in delay and indecision over major energy projects and things simply not getting built. 

“We are removing uncertainty to give industry the confidence to invest in much needed new energy infrastructure in this country.” 

Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark said: 

"Energy projects provide a real growth opportunity for this country and will bring billions of pounds of investment that will not only lead to jobs but essential new infrastructure. 

"These statements are an important part of the package of reforms Government is making to the planning system and will ensure faster decisions can be made."

Prior to designation, the energy NPSs were subject to two rounds of Parliamentary Scrutiny and public consultation. The previous Government consulted on the draft energy NPSs between November 2009 and February 2010. The second consultation was conducted between October 18, 2010 and January 24, 2011.

The Nuclear National Policy Statement lists the following sites as potentially suitable for the deployment of new nuclear power stations in the UK by 2025: 

Bradwell, Essex; Hartlepool, Borough of Hartlepool; Heysham, Lancashire; Hinkley Point, Somerset; Oldbury, South Glos.; Sellafield, Cumbria; Sizewell, Suffolk; Wylfa, Isle of Anglesey.

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