This is entry number 313, published on 20 January 2012, of a blog on the Planning Act 2008 infrastructure planning and authorisation regime. Click here for a link to the whole blog.
Today's entry reports on the influence of the Planning Act regime on Europe and vice versa.
The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) has published a notice that one of the applications it has recently accepted might have environmental effects on other EU countries. It considers that the proposed Galloper wind farm off the Suffolk coast might affect France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark.
Having taken this view, it has followed the Environmental Impact Assessment regulations and written to those countries to ask them if they want to participate in the examination of the application, giving them until 2 March to reply. Where do you write to if you are writing to a country, I wonder?
This is the first project to have this international dimension. Given the position of the proposed windfarm relative to the territorial limits of the first three of these countries (see diagram with the wind farm site marked), I can see why they have been approached, but I am not sure why Denmark and Sweden have been included - Sweden is over 500 miles away. No doubt there are reasons for this - perhaps shipping.
We will find out if any of these countries wish to participate at the beginning of March. Who knows, perhaps there will be some overseas issue-specific hearings.
Click here to view image
A debate was held yesterday in the House of Commons on the proposed EU regulations on energy, transport and comms networks. The regulations propose a common consenting regime for energy projects, but the debate, and the government's resolution, were focused on the EU's spending plans. There was a vote on a Labour amendment to the resolution which urged the EU to adopt more of a 'plan B' than 'plan A' approach, but the noes had it.
After an hour and three quarters, the House resolved
That this House takes note of European Union Documents No. 16176/11 and Addenda 1 and 2, No. 16499/11, No. 16006/11 and Addenda 1 and 2, No. 15629/11 and Addenda 1 to 35, No. 15813/11 and Addenda 1 and 2, relating to the European Commission’s draft regulations on the Connecting Europe Facility in the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-20; supports the Government’s view that at a time of ongoing economic fragility in Europe and tight constraints on domestic public spending, the Commission’s proposal for substantial increases in EU spending in this area compared with current spend is unacceptable and incompatible with the tough decisions being taken to bring deficits under control in both the UK and countries across Europe; considers that spending in this area should focus on identifying and providing genuine EU-added value, and not on spending where domestic governments and the market are better placed to act; and further supports the Government’s ongoing efforts to reduce both the Commission’s proposed budget for the Connecting Europe Facility and the overall level of spending in the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-20.
The resolution only deals with the funding issue, although earlier government departments' views that any 'regime change' should be as minimal as possible - see this blog entry.
Meanwhile the Ports National Policy Statement (NPS) also got the rest of its debate in the House of Commons yesterday - all 12 minutes of it - and is now ready for designation. The energy NPSs were designated the day after their debate, but the Ports NPS is taking a little longer.
Both debates can be found here - the EU debate starts at column 909 (page 27) and the Ports NPS debate starts at column 954 (page 49).