National Strategic Infrastructure Projects
Following concerns over the length of time it was taking for certain major development proposals to get through the planning system, the Planning Act 2008 introduced measures to streamline the decision making process for major infrastructure projects.
The type of scheme that can be considered under this regime is limited to the following:
- those relating to energy generation, transmission or storage
- highway related development
- airport related development
- harbour facilities
- rail freight interchanges
- transfer of water resources
- waste water treatment plant
- hazardous waste facilities
Procedurally, the most significant point to note in the determination of an NSIP is that the decision making role which the Local Planning Authority normally exercises with regard to all development proposal is taken away from them and now rests with the Secretary of State. This means that the role of the local planning authority is now that of an interested party and consultee. The final decision is made by the Secretary of State. Under the Localism Act 2011 the Planning Inspectorate became the government agency responsible for operating the planning process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. The Planning Inspectorate assesses each project and makes recommendations to the Secretary of State. A successful decision comes in the form of what is referred to as a Development Consent Order.
Another aspect of the procedure is that the developer is required to do most of the work with regards to the project in the pre application stage. This means that any responses to consultation exercises should be directed towards the developer and not the local planning authority or the Planning Inspectorate. The responsibilities change when the proposal is formally submitted for examination at which time the Planning Inspectorate takes more of a lead role.
The link below will take you to National Infrastructure Planning website homepage where you can browse and explore the background to the process and procedure: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk
Current Nationally Strategic Infrastructure Projects of Interest to Winchester City Council
As of 17 December 2019 there are three NSIP proposals which relate to land wholly or partly within the district. They are all at different stages of the process. These projects are listed below with key actions together with the link to the developers own web site and the link to the planning inspectorate web site. These web sites will show the most up to date information on the schemes.
Southampton to London Pipeline Project
This project was formally submitted in May 2019 and the Examination Stage began on 9 October 2019. The Examination Stage must be concluded by 9 October 2020.
A series of hearings is ongoing based at a venue up in Farnborough (an approximate midway point in the pipeline). The topics for the hearing where decided by the examination panel that consists of 4 planning inspectors.
There is some general information on the applicants own web site which can be viewed via the following link: https://www.slpproject.co.uk/
As the application is now in the formal Examination Stage the main details and actions are displayed and recorded on the planning inspectorate website. This can be viewed via the following link: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-east/southampton-to-london-pipeline-project/
The scheme is evolving and changing as the Examination Stage progresses and for the latest details please view the planning inspectorate web site. Unfortunately, the PINS web site does not appear to be presenting the attachments in a clear and logical order to assist you finding your way about the submitted documents. The Examination Library is a useful tool to find the latest events and additions.
The Examination will close on 9 April 2019. A recommendation to the Secretary of State, who makes the final decision, will be made by the Examination Panel shortly afterward.
Aquind ran a consultation exercise based on their Preliminary Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) from February to April 2019.
This project has just been accepted as valid by the planning inspectorate and entered the formal Examination Stage on 12 December 2019. The next event will be a preliminary hearing some time in early 2020 when the timetable, the nature of the examination and the deadlines for submission will be discussed. The venue for this preliminary meeting will be set by Aquind in conjunction with PINS. The Examination Panel has the final say on all matters.
There is some general information about Aquind on their web site which can be accessed via the following link: http://aquind.co.uk/
Now we have entered the Examination Stage the main documents are held on the planning inspectorate web site. This can be viewed via the following link: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-east/aquind-interconnector/
Unfortunately, the PINS web site does not appear to be presenting the attachments in a clear and logical order to assist you finding your way about the submitted documents. The Examination Library is a useful tool to find the latest events and additions.
Please note that as part of the examination, the submitted details may be revised and new documents submitted. The only reliable way to ensure you are viewing the most recent version of a document is to view it on the PINS website.
M3 Junction 9 Improvement
Highways England ran a consultation exercise based on the Preliminary Environmental Impact Report (PEIR) in July/August 2019. WCC formally responded. Given the interest in the scheme a report was considered by the Cabinet on 28 August 2019 which set out the basis of the response to the PEIR. That Cabinet report (agenda item 11) can be viewed via the following link: http://modgov1-wcc.wcc.winchester.gov.uk/documents/g2078/Public%20reports%20pack%2028th-Aug-2019%2009.30%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10
As the scheme is still in the pre application stage the applicant’s web site contains most information. This can be accessed via the following link: https://highwaysengland.co.uk/projects/m3-junction-9-improvements/
The planning inspectorate web site does contain some limited information and can be viewed via the following link: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-east/m3-junction-9-improvement/
The following project is located in the Test Valley District Area.
However, given its proximity to the district boundary, we will consider the wider implications of this proposal and comment upon it.
Wheelabrator Harewood Waste to Energy Facility
This project is still in the pre application stage. Wheelabrator have just undertaken a consultation exercise based on the Preliminary Environmental Impact Report (PEIR)
Most of the current details are on the applicant’s web site which can be viewed via the following link: https://www.wtiharewood.co.uk/
There are some documents on the planning inspectorate web site relating to the scoping request which is the process of establishing the agreed major topics to be covered by the environmental impact statement that would accompany any application. These documents can be viewed via the following link: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-east/wheelabrator-harewood-waste-to-energy-facility/