The six National Policy Statements relating to the energy sector have been designated today after being debated and approved by the House of Commons yesterday.
Developers of nationally significant infrastructure projects will welcome the certainty provided by the designation and the speed with which it has been carried out.
Yesterday the House of Commons voted to approve the National Policy Statements (NPSs) without further amendments. The Government had promised that the NPSs would be designated "as soon as possible" after being approved and today Chris Huhne, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, announced the designation of the NPSs and released a written statement saying:
"I believe this designation marks a significant step forward, as it delivers a key part of our plans to move to a low carbon future while protecting the security of the UK’s energy supplies at affordable prices."
The NPSs provide the primary policy basis for deciding whether to grant applications for development consent for nationally significant infrastructure projects. Now that they have been designated there is a presumption in favour of approval for development proposals which are in accordance with the Overarching Energy NPS and the relevant sector-specific NPS.
Developers of nationally significant projects within the ambit of the NPSs will welcome news of the designation, which marks the end of a process dating back to November 2009 when the initial draft energy NPSs were published for consultation by the Labour Government (see our e-bulletins dated 10 November 2009 and 17 December 2009 for more information). Following consideration of the responses to that consultation, Parliamentary scrutiny and the Coalition Government taking power, the NPSs and the Appraisals of Sustainability that underpin them were revised. In October 2010, the revised draft NPSs were re-issued for a further period of consultation that closed in January 2011. Subsequently, the Coalition Government made further revisions to the NPSs before laying them before Parliament for approval (see our e-bulletin dated 4 July 2011 for more information).
The designated NPSs are available here.