The Planning Act 2008, which comes into force during 2009/2010, will create a new unifi ed consent regime in England and Wales for Nationally Signifi cant Infrastructure Projects; namely the construction or extension of energy generating facilities (i) onshore, with a capacity of more than 50mW; or (ii) offshore, with a capacity of more than 100mW.

The new regime will alter the need for – and method of – obtaining consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. Planning applications will be determined by a new body, the Infrastructure Planning Commission, who will determine applications against National Policy Statements made by the Secretary of State.

Energy and Infrastructure Partner, Sarah Cassidy, says: “This change will help to facilitate large energy infrastructure projects in England and Wales and the National Policy Statements should provide increased clarity as to the criteria against which applications will be judged”.