The DCLG are ramping up their recruitment drive in order to be ready for opening day of the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) on the 1 October 2009. The latest appointments are Jan Bessell of Dickinson Dees LLP, Glyn Roberts, currently director of Thames Gateway in the Homes and Communities Agency and Paul Hudson, Director of Technical Services for North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership.

From the 1 October the IPC will start providing pre-application advice to potential applicants for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) – those projects within the fields of energy, transport, water, waste water and waste which meet the relevant thresholds set out by Section 3 of the Planning Act 2008.

Although the IPC will be providing advice from the 1 October 2009, they will not be considering applications for each of the fields until their relevant National Policy Statement (NPS) have been published. The DCLG announced recently that the first NPSs (NPS on Ports, NPS on Non-Nuclear Energy), originally planned for consultation during Summer 2009, were now not expected until Autumn 2009 when they will be published alongside the NPSs on Nuclear Power and Road and Rail. The remaining four NPSs (Waste Water, Hazardous Waste, Watery Supply and Airports) will be published for consultation from the middle of 2010. The first IPC applications on Ports and Non-Nuclear Energy will therefore likely be considered around March 2010.

The wider regulations surrounding the IPC were published for consultation in July this year, they set out how applications will be considered and the costs of making such an application. In the smallest of cases (single commissioner), the likely fee will be in the region of £50,000 and in the largest of cases (large panel) this fee will increase to some £300,000.

The DCLG are accepting comments on the draft regulations up until the 5 October 2009.