This is entry number 109, first published on 8 March 2010, of a blog on the implementation of the Planning Act 2008. Click here for a link to the whole blog. For more information on our work on major projects, click here.
Today's entry reports on the fate of the project that was timetabled to be the first IPC application.
A week ago the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) opened its doors for applications for nationally significant transport and energy projects. Not only were the IPC's doors opened, but the government's doors were closed to applications for such projects under existing regimes. Whether the opening and closing of doors has been done properly is a matter of some speculation, as reported by Planning magazine on Friday.
The IPC has keeping an up to date list of projects that it expects to receive on its website. The initial 11 projects have risen to 22 since the list was first published in October 2009. The list is heavily dominated by energy projects, which make up 19 of the 22, together with two highway projects and one waste water project (the Thames Tunnel - see earlier blog entry).
The opening of the IPC's doors is not an opening of the floodgates - only two projects were anticipated in the first three months of operation. Last week this fell to one, as the first project that was on the list - changes to the A2070 near Ashford in Kent - has dropped off it. Apparently the project, to connect a proposed development to a trunk road, has been delayed and something smaller scale (and not an IPC project) will be built as an interim measure. It does not appear to have been the new regime that has caused the delay, but rather the current economic climate.
This therefore gives Covanta Energy's energy from waste project in Bedfordshire a clear run to be the first project, and indeed it is the only project to have published a formal notice of intended application. Two more projects are expected to squeak in five days before the general election (a biomass plant in Northumberland and a windfarm in Carmarthenshire, both RES projects), but the rest will have to contend with the post-election world.