This is entry number 110, first published on 9 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, clickhere.

Today's entry reports on further appointments to the Infrastructure Planning Commission.

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) is the new body that now considers applications for nationally significant energy and transport projects. Once the relevant National Policy Statement has been finalised, it will also decide the applications.

Over the last nine months or so, the government has been appointing commissioners to mae up the IPC. Until this month, nine full-time commissioners had been appointed: Sir Mike Pitt (Chair), Pauleen Lane and Robert Upton (Vice Chairs), Jan Bessell, Glyn Roberts, Paul Hudson, Katharine Bryan, Emrys Parry and Gideon Amos.

Earlier this month one more full-time commissioner was apponited and a further 16 part time (or 'registered') commissioners.

The full-time commissioner is Andrew Phillipson, a civil engineer who was previously a planning inspector (so it is possible to make the transition from inspector to commissioner).

The 16 part-time commissioners (who will be assigned to particular applications and then stand down once they have been examined/decided) are: Kate Barker, Martin Broderick, Richard Davies, Jonathan Green, Michael Hayes, Gordon Hughes, John Lloyd-Jones, Iwan Richards, Peter Robottom, Lorna Walker, Robert Baty, Frances Fernandes, John Glasson, Eira Hughes, Kelvin MacDonald and Barry Pearce.

Of particular note is the first of these, Kate Barker, for it was she who was instrumental in bringing about the Planning Act in the first place. The Barker Review of Land Use Planning, published in December 2006, recommended amongst other things:

'a new system for dealing with major infrastructure projects, based around national Statements of Strategic Objectives and an independent Planning Commission to determine applications'

Sound familiar? The Barker Review (together with the Stern Review of climate change policy and Rod Eddington's review of transport) led to the Planning White Paper, which in turn produced the Planning Bill that became to the Planning Act 2008.

There are now 26 commissioners in total, which should be enough to handle all the applications on the IPC's project list. Sir Mike told the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee that all applications except nuclear power stations would most likely be considered by a single commissioner, and nuclear powrer station applications would be considered by three commissioners. Given 22 projects including four nuclear power stations in the list, that would need 30 commissioners, but some will have finished before others start. There are also likely to be several other applications in the next year or two that the IPC don't know about yet, so we are likely to see some more appointments to bring the numbers up to the originally envisaged 35 commissioners