The Government has published the final versions of its energy National Policy Statements (NPSs) so they can be debated in Parliament and voted on.
As expected, the nuclear energy NPS has confirmed that any new-build nuclear power stations will be located at eight existing nuclear sites:
Despite a vocal local campaign, Dungeness is not listed as a candidate site.
The energy NPSs are designed to provide a clear framework for decision making and set out the need for a surge of investment in new power generating sources, including 33 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity by 2025.
Energy Minister Charles Hendry said: “These plans set out our energy need to help guide the planning process, so that if acceptable proposals come forward in appropriate places, they will not face unnecessary hold-ups.”
Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark said: "These policy statements are an important step in ensuring planning decisions can be made without delay and will boost the reforms the Government is making to the planning system to strip away bureaucracy, give more powers to communities and ensure faster decisions are taken.”
Countryside campaigners have welcomed the NPS on energy infrastructure which has reiterated the Holford Rules, a set of principles that say beautiful countryside should not be disfigured with electricity pylons if this can be avoided. The NPS has also acknowledged new pylons may be unacceptable in some locations because of their visual intrusion.
Paul Miner, senior planning campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “This will be welcomed by campaigners working to fight newly proposed power lines in Kent, Lancashire, Shropshire, Somerset and Suffolk.
“But the battle is not yet won as overhead pylons might still be allowed if underground or undersea alternatives are considered too expensive”.
In a separate but related development the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published independent research into how noise from wind turbines is assessed in the planning process.
DECC is now in discussions with the Institute of Acoustics to establish a working group to develop best practice guidance for planners, developers and local communities.
30 June 2011