Proposed changes to the consenting process for overhead power lines in England and Wales will result in a fairer process for all parties, reduce burdens on developers and save money for the taxpayer, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said today.
Three consultations begin today and will close on 27 November 2012.
Greg Barker, Minister for Energy and Climate Change, said:
“When it comes to dealing with applications for overhead power lines, we need a regime that provides certainty and clarity for developers and communities alike.
“We are proposing minor technical changes that will bring the current system up to date and ensure that much-needed investment in electricity networks is not unnecessarily held up.”
Consultation on amendment to the electric lines above ground threshold in the Planning Act 2008:
An amendment to the Planning Act will mean that a number of applications for minor works on overhead lines will no longer be treated the same way as major infrastructure projects like large power stations. This will mean a number of applications will be considered (as they were before the Planning Act 2008) under Section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989. This will reduce burdens for developers, but maintain opportunities for local authorities and communities to have their say. The move does not change overall policy but seeks to establish a more proportionate and cost-effective approach.
Consultation on revision of fees payable for applications under Section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989:
A revision of fees payable to Government by developers for processing section 37 applications under the Electricity Act 1989 will bring them into line with the actual administrative costs associated, saving the tax payer between £75,000 and £140,000 a year.
Necessary Wayleaves Regime - Consultation on proposed reforms to the Electricity Act process:
Disputes between developers and landowners about rights to retain existing overhead lines and the develop new lines over private land could be resolved more efficiently and without the need for expensive hearings under proposals to modernise the Necessary Wayleave hearing rules, including through the potential development of a voluntary industry Code of Practice. The current hearing rules - enacted in 1967 - require hearings to take place in all circumstances. This consultation proposes allowing written representations to be made in circumstances where all parties agree, which could reduce the need for costly and time-consuming hearings. The consultation also explores the introduction of a scale of fees payable by developers to Government for the processing of Necessary Wayleave applications.
Notes for editors:
The consultation documents are available on the DECC website
The Red Tape Challenge was launched in April 2011 to reduce and reform the stock of regulations on the statute book. The Necessary Wayleaves Hearings Rules 1967 are an example of regulations that are being improved - more information is available on the DECC website