- New fast-track planning pathway for major infrastructure projects in England and Wales
- The changes will support economic growth, improve transport links and strengthen our energy security
- Over £750,000 for 10 projects to help councils deliver better results for local communities in major infrastructure projects
Major infrastructure projects such as road improvements and offshore wind farms will be delivered faster through a new accelerated planning pathway, Secretary of State for Leveling Greg Clark announced today (August 30) .
New powers will mean that shorter deadlines can be set for the review of infrastructure projects of national significance, which will speed up decisions and get projects built faster. The relevant secretary of state – for example for energy, transport, environment or leveling up – will decide whether to implement the shorter deadline.
It also means that decisions on minor (non-material) changes to already approved projects can be made much faster – currently they can take up to 16 months, sometimes resulting in significant delays in delivery.
Leveling Up Secretary Greg Clark said:
Particularly in times of high inflation, things need to be done faster or the costs of major infrastructure projects will rise.
These changes will help deliver new infrastructure faster, speeding up the planning process that often moves too slowly.
The government will make the changes to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects process through amendments to the Leveling and Reclamation Bill.
Today’s announcement is part of plans to speed up the planning process for large-scale projects and builds on efforts under the government’s energy security strategy to ensure the country builds the infrastructure it needs faster than before.
More than £750,000 has also been awarded today to 10 council-led projects to support innovation by ensuring the needs of local communities are considered in the process.
Councils and local communities will continue to play a key role in the planning process, including producing local impact reports which represent the views of residents and need to be taken into account. Only suitable projects will go through the new accelerated process.
- The policy statement, including a full list of local authority projects receiving funding, has been published.
- The government intends to release a comprehensive action plan, along with consultation on national policy statements and other regulatory and guidance changes to improve the functioning of the system, over the coming months. This will include more details on possible time frames and how the process works.
- Funding for 10 council-led projects will go to councils in Somerset, Cumbria, Essex, Suffolk, Leicestershire, North Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, West Sussex and Norfolk:
- Norfolk County Council is creating a virtual system that will record information about local NSIPs, including deadlines, deadlines, contacts and meetings for other local authorities and applicants to view.
- Cambridgeshire County Council and Suffolk County Council each produce a Center of Excellence, helping to capture and disseminate best practice – allowing other authorities to benefit from their considerable experience.
- Selby District Council and North Yorkshire County Council are working together to develop a multi-disciplinary environmental framework which sets out the requirements for local authorities to submit an NSIP application. These will focus on landscape, biodiversity, environmental health and heritage. This framework will help present multiple NSIPs in one place and could be used by applicants, council and the Planning Inspectorate at the application and review stages.
- To accommodate parliamentary printing deadlines, amendments will be available for Members to read upon their return from recess on September 5, 2022.