The National Policy Statements issued in draft on 9 November 2009 contain a wealth of information and guidance for new energy development.

Promoters need to review and master all of the detail of this new national policy to ensure that applications for development consent are accurate, comprehensive and legally robust in every respect: errors made now will be difficult or impossible to correct later on in the planning process.

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) will be responsible for future decisions on the authorisation of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. Not all infrastructure projects will be nationally significant and criteria must be met - for example, by size and capacity – for such projects to fall within the IPC's remit.

However, as soon as the regime is switched on – expected to be in March 2010 for energy and transport projects – applications for relevant infrastructure projects, including ports, airports, power stations and gas pipelines, must be made to the IPC. Decisions will then be made by reference to a specific policy foundation created by the Government, known as National Policy Statements.

This e-bulletin, which follows on from our bulletin of 10 November 2009, examines the six National Policy Statements relating to the energy sector:

the sector specific statements on:

Once these NPSs are designated there will be a presumption that relevant development proposals that are in accordance with the requirements of each sector-specific NPS should be approved. For those able to take advantage of the new IPC regime as a “one stop shop” for the project consents that they require, the detail of the NPSs will therefore be critical.

Herbert Smith is advising on some of the largest energy and transport projects that are due to be considered by the IPC in its early years of operation. We will be providing a regular update service on further developments under the new planning regime for all those interested in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Click on the links above for a more detailed overview of the draft NPSs.

If you would like to respond to the consultation which runs until 22 February 2010, the main documents are available here.