A consultation on including proposed major sewers within the existing planning process for major infrastructure projects has been launched by Defra today.
The Planning Act 2008 specifies certain types of major schemes, such as power stations and large sewage treatment works, as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). The consultation seeks views on proposed secondary legislation which would amend the Act to specify major sewer projects in England above a storage capacity threshold of 350,000 cubic metres as NSIPs. They would then be able to go through the same planning application process as other NSIPs.
This would mean that a proposed major sewer project would submit a single application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), rather than potentially multiple applications to many local planning authorities.
When the Localism Bill completes its Parliamentary process and receives Royal Assent, the IPC will be replaced by a Major Infrastructure Planning Unit within the Planning Inspectorate to consider any applications and make its recommendation to Ministers.
Further details on the consultation can be found here: http://www.defra.gov.uk/consult/2011/07/12/wastewater-transportation/.
The public consultation specifically seeks comments on the following:
- Is the draft Section 14 Order’s 350,000 cubic-metre (m3) volume threshold for a proposed wastewater transfer and storage infrastructure set at an appropriate level, capturing only those projects which should be classed as NSIPs and so undergo the same streamlined planning process as other NSIPs?
- If not, what threshold would be more appropriate and why?
- Are the proposed “supplemental provisions” in the draft Section 14 Order appropriate?
The consultation continues until Wednesday 5 October 2011.