The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has begun consulting on proposals to include proposed major sewers as candidates for the new planning regime for major infrastructure projects.
The consultation seeks views on proposed secondary legislation which would amend the Planning Act 2008 to specify major sewer projects in England above a storage capacity threshold of 350,000 cubic metres as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.
Thames Water’s Thames Tideway Tunnel would qualify for being handled this way. Boroughs affected by the planned construction works have been vocal in their wish to be directly involved in the planning decision over the project.
Currently Thames faces having to lodge some 14 separate planning applications to London planning authorities to carry out the scheme. If it is handled by the Infrastructure Planning Commission or its successor only one application will be needed although the water company will have to consult with all the London boroughs affected.
Defra said this move would enable proposed major waste water transfer and storage infrastructure projects (sewers) to undergo the same planning application process as large sewage treatment works and power stations.
14 July 2011