The five energy sector National Policy Statements covering fossil fuels, renewables, gas supply/pipelines, electricity networks and nuclear will be governed by the Overarching Energy NPS (entitled "EN-1"). In the third of our Business Alerts we summarise the main elements of this umbrella document, the draft of which was published for consultation in November:
- Part 1 sets out how the suite of energy NPSs will work and their period of validity. It explains how all of them have been subject to Appraisal of Sustainability incorporating the requirements for Strategic Environmental Assessment
- Part 2 explains the Government's energy and climate change strategy
- Part 3 assesses the need and urgency for new energy infrastructure. It does this both in general terms, by looking at the need for energy supply and the need for a diverse mix of electricity generation. It also does it in terms of addressing the need for specific, low-carbon types of energy infrastructure
- Part 4 contains generic information and guidance on certain issues which apply across more than one type of infrastructure, such as key assessment principles and impacts, which the IPC will need to adhere to
It is Part 4 which contains the nitty gritty. It covers the role of the Environmental Statement, the relevance of habitats regulations assessments, the criteria for "good design", the considerations around combined heat and power, carbon capture and storage, climate change adaptation, grid connection, pollution, health and safety and security issues.
The significance of the Overarching Energy NPS can easily be forgotten in the midst of the simultaneous publication of the five sector specific draft NPSs. However, it is this framework NPS which reigns supreme, with the other draft NPSs containing "supplemental information for specific types of infrastructure" to be read in conjunction with EN-1. Together they will form the primary consideration for the IPC when making decisions on applications for development consent orders. The consultation is, therefore, seeking views on a large range of areas.