Gas pipelines: applying for consent

Guidance on applying for consent for gas pipelines.

The construction of a pipeline by a gas transporter wholly or partly in England falls to be determined under the Planning Act 2008 as a nationally significant infrastructure project if any of the following criteria are met:

  • the pipeline is more than 800 mm in diameter; or
  • it is more than 40 km in length; or
  • it is likely to have a significant effect on the environment

Onshore pipelines greater than 16 km in length require a Pipeline Construction Authorisation (PCA) under the Pipelines Act 1962 from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.


A pipeline project must first be screened under the Public Gas Transporter Pipe-Line Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 1999 to determine if an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required. This may be determined by the EIA Regulations which provide guideline and criteria thresholds which request an EIA of projects that are likely to result in significant environmental impacts. Schedule 1 of the EIA Regulations provides a list of projects for which an EIA is mandatory. If the proposed project is listed in Schedule 2 and exceeds the associated thresholds, the developer can decide independently that an Environmental Statement (ES) will need to be completed. Alternatively a written request may be made to the Secretary of State for a screening opinion, to determine if an ES is required.

The department was required to transpose the obligations of Directive 2014/52/EU, which amends the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive in so far as it applies to the department’s consenting regimes for:

  • electricity development projects
  • offshore hydrocarbon-related developments (including gas and carbon dioxide storage)
  • onshore pipe-line projects

See the Offshore Petroleum Production and Pipe-lines (Environmental Impact Assessment and other Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2017.

Published 1 January 2000