This is entry number 102, first published on 22 February 2010, of a blog on the implementation of the Planning Act 2008. Click here for a link to the whole blog.
Today's entry reports on the publication of the first notice publicising a proposed application for a development consent order.
Applications for nationally significant energy and transport projects will have to be made to the new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) in just one week's time, although the IPC's list of projects it is expecting does not herald any floodgates opening next Monday. Just two projects (out of 21 so far notified to the IPC) are to come before it in the first three months.
The Act places considerable emphasis on pre-application consultation, where promoters of projects must consult a large number of public bodies and landowners, and also publicise the application locally according to its published Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC). We have had some SoCCs published already (see this earlier blog entry) but on Friday, the first notice advertising a proposed application was published, both in the Times (3/4 of a page) and in the London Gazette - here is a link to the latter notice.
This is not for the first project in the IPC list, but the second - an energy from waste facility promoted by Covanta Energy that will generate around 65MW of electricity - so above the 50MW threshold that makes it a nationally significant infrastructure project. Does that mean this project will actually make the starting line before the other, a Highways Agency scheme in Kent? The race is on!
As the notice says, the project has a website (here) - de rigueur, these days. On that site you can see the 'preliminary environmental report', which is the project's environmental statement as far as it has been developed to date, so you will have to get used to yet another abbreviation: PER.
The deadline for consultation responses is 5 April 2010, but the promoter still hopes to make its application during that month. I met Alistair Walker (no relation) of Covanta Energy at our masterclass today, who I think is taking some pride in the fact that his company will be leading the way on the new regime, although they must be under tremendous pressure to get everything right first time.
One of the many sets of regulations accompanying the Planning Act sets out what a notice must contain, and that it must be publicised twice in a local newspaper, once in a national newspaper and once in the London Gazette. Does this notice comply with the regulations? Yes, pretty much, although I can always find a mistake in most documents, whether a menu or a public notice under the Planning Act!