The government has today (30 August 2022) published a policy paper outlining steps which seek to speed up the planning process for major national infrastructure projects (NSIPs).
Through amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, government intends to enable ministers to set a shorter statutory timeframe for Development Consent Order examinations and to speed up non-material post-consent changes to plans, among other steps.
Responding to the policy announcement, Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said:
“Proportionate steps to reduce delays to the planning progress are to be welcomed, though of course that does not negate the need for engagement with local communities and for detailed work on scoping and design upfront to avoid problems later down the line. The challenges of boosting our resilience to energy and water supply issues has been thrown into sharp relief in recent weeks, and it makes sense to seek a faster consenting route for key projects that serve in the national interest.
“However, these changes must be accompanied by the publication of up-to-date national statements that set out government’s strategic priorities for our key infrastructure sectors.”