A key element of the new planning regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects is now in place.
Energy secretary Chris Huhne has formally designated the suite of energy National Policy Statements (NPSs) following a vote in the House of Commons.
The independent Infrastructure Planning Commission will now use the NPSs to inform planning decisions. The NPSs will be used in future for recommendations by the IPC’s successor, subject to the Parliamentary 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.
Energy minister Charles Hendry told MPs: “The national policy statements do not contain new energy policy or change the standard for consenting projects, but they set out clearly and for the first time the national policy that must be considered before the granting of consent to infrastructure projects that are examined by the Infrastructure Planning Commission and, when the Localism Bill has been enacted, by its successor."
He added: "The policy statements are critical to the new fast-track planning system that will encourage developers to embark on energy projects without facing unnecessary hold-ups.
"It will also ensure that local people can have their say about how their communities develop, and that decisions are made in an accountable way by elected ministers".
Decentralisation minister Greg Clark said: "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."
The nuclear NPS lists the following sites as potentially suitable for new nuclear power stations by 2025:
21 July 2011