This is entry number 175, first published on 13 October 2010, of a blog on the implementation of the Planning Act 2008. Click here for a link to the whole blog.
Today's entry reveals some of the changes planned to the energy National Policy Statements.
As previously reported, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is about to launch a second round of consultation on the six draft energy National Policy Statements (NPSs).
Unfortunately for DECC, its website developers have accidentally published the consultation website while it is still under development and it is quite revealing.
The news that will create headlines is that they are not only refusing to add Dungeness to the list of possible new nuclear power stations, but they are dropping two of the ten sites that were previously listed - Kirksanton and Braystones in Cumbria. There are also changes to the text of the NPS on need and radioactive waste - see below.
The documents explaining this have yet to be loaded, so we are left with the summary that 'Braystones has been found to be not suitable for the deployment of a new nuclear power station by 2025. Therefore, Braystones is not within the revised draft Nuclear NPS.', and the same for Kirksanton. RWE Npower nominated both sites when invited to do so back in April 2009.
The political background of course is that the Liberal Democrat Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne MP has committed to delivering new nuclear power as part of the government's coalation agreement, despite his party having a policy of opposing it.
The consultation will close on 24 January 2011. There will be public meetings in Bristol on 24th November, Manchester on 29th November, and London on 1st December. Neither Bristol nor Manchester had meetings the first time round, although London's will be a year less a day after its first consultation round equivalent.
The changes to each NPS are listed in brief, although the revised text has not been uploaded yet.
For the Overarching Energy NPS EN-1, the need argument has been updated with the recent 'Pathways to 2050' analysis. Policy on carbon capture and storage demonstration projects is included. Assessing exhaust stacks and cooling towers has been moved to EN-1 from EN-2 and EN-3. The section on the historic environment has been revised to reflect the updated PPS5.
The Fossil Fuels NPS, EN-2 has been updated to say that water-borne transport for fuel and residues should be preferred over other modes. What about rail-borne?
The Renewable Energy NPS, EN-3 has updated sections on biomass sustainability (which may need to be further updated given a current consultation) and that offshore windfarms might affect the green belt.
The revised Oil and Gas Infrastructure NPS EN-4 states that it does not cover CO2 pipelines, more on safety of shipping LNG (see previous blog entry, where I speculated whether this would be covered), more on geological assessment of salt caverns, and a new impact has been added that should be assessed, namely flaring and venting of gas.
Undergrounding policy is to be 'clarified' in the revised Electricity Networks NPS, EN-5, and there will be more on bird strike.
Most changes have occurred to the Nuclear Power NPS, EN-6. It appears that the IPC may have a role in considering radioactive waste, if included in an application. There is more on how applications would be dealt with for sites other than the eight now included. The need text has been clarified so as not to imply that all eight sites are needed. There is new text on 'regulatory justification'. Some impacts have been removed from the NPS where they are for the regulator rather than the IPC to consider.
Finally, all 3043 responses to the original consultation have been uploaded, although by the name of the respondent rather than their orgnisations.