Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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HEALEY: FAIRER AND FASTER PLANNING DECISIONS WILL HELP POWER THE COUNTRY TO A LOW CARBON FUTURE

HEALEY: FAIRER AND FASTER PLANNING DECISIONS WILL HELP POWER THE COUNTRY TO A LOW CARBON FUTURE

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 01 March 2010

Planning Minister John Healey today (1 March 2010) heralded the start of the new planning regime for major infrastructure as it begins receiving applications for energy projects that have the potential to provide up to £50bn worth of international investment and supply electricity to 22m homes.

From today, the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) will be able to consider proposals for major energy and transport projects, including 17 energy schemes that together have the capability to generate enough electricity to power more than three quarters of all the homes in the UK, and could help drive economic growth and create new jobs

The number of energy schemes that are waiting to be considered has grown to a potential 22GW of new electricity generating capacity, and many of the new projects will use renewable energy that is necessary for the transition to a low carbon economy and a greener future.

The IPC is a new development consent process for large projects such as large wind farms, power stations and major roads. It combines up to eight former planning systems into a single process, and will cut the time taken to make decisions from up to seven years to under a year, saving the country £300 million a year.

Under the old set up, the planning system often tied up applications for years in red tape. In some cases, it took ten years between a company's decision to invest in a new project, and the delivery of energy to the national grid. It took more than six years to get a decision on North Yorkshire Power Line upgrade, and two and a half years to get to a decision on Staythorpe C gas fired power station.

Planning Minister John Healey said:

"If we are to be competitive in the global economy and have a good quality of life, it is clear we need a better system for planning and building the infrastructure the country needs. The IPC will be a faster and fairer system that is important for delivering these improvements, and with up to £50bn worth of investment in the pipeline, is vital to help drive economic growth and recovery. It will also help meet our targets towards becoming a low carbon country, with a new generation of investments essential to the future of the country.

"In the next 15 years we will need to replace about a third of our electricity generating capacity to keep pace with demand, and make much greater use of renewable energy or we will fail to meet our ambitious low-carbon goals. A new generation of green energy infrastructure is necessary to reduce carbon emissions, and will need to be delivered in a way that takes into account the needs of local communities and the natural environment.

"The growing list of potential projects show businesses and international investors want to do business with the IPC and have confidence in the new planning system.

"The IPC will provide transparency and predictability for investors, and better opportunities for local people to make their case at every stage of the application and decision making process, including the opportunity to speak at open-floor hearings."

Many of the new projects that will be considered by the IPC will use renewable energy, including:

Atlantic Array windfarm – project by RWE NPower in the Bristol Channel;Irish Sea offshore windfarm – project by Centrica in the Irish Sea between the Isle of Man and Anglesey;Nant-y-Moch windfarm – project by Airtricty in Ceredigion, Wales; andBlyth biomass power plant – project by RES New Ventures in Northumberland

Sir Michael Pitt, IPC Chair, said:

"The IPC is ready to start delivering its core business and we are delighted to have received the green light from the Minister today. The next few months will see the IPC considering matters of significant national importance for communities in England and Wales. We will deliver a faster, more cost-efficient system for deciding applications, and we will achieve this based upon core principles of fairness and accountability.

"The IPC will ensure there are meaningful opportunities for all who are affected by proposals to have their views heard. Applicants will need to demonstrate that they have sought and acted upon the views of local people in developing their proposals. And in each case, the public will also have the opportunity to be heard by the IPC as part of the examination process."

The IPC can now consider applications from the energy and transport sectors, and will make decisions about new energy infrastructure, ports, roads and railways using National Policy Statements (NPSs) that are being produced across Government.

John Healey also announced more appointments for the IPC to ensure it has the full complement of staff it needs to start work. Andrew Phillipson has been appointed as a commissioner to act as a decision-maker on infrastructure projects, and two non-executive directors, David Clements and Sheila Drew Smith, will make sure the IPC meets its aims and objectives and works according legislation set out in the Planning Act. A further ten registered Commissioners have been recruited to enable the IPC to manage a fluctuating workload and will work on a case-by-case basis.

Notes to Editors

1. The 22 GW figure has been calculated based upon the minimum generating capacity of all 17 energy generating projects that include renewable, nuclear and gas powered projects. The full list of the IPC’s Programme of Projects can be found at: http://infrastructure.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/ProgrammeofProjects-23-Feb.pdf

2. On 1 October 2009 the Planning Act 2008 established a new, independent body, the Infrastructure Planning Commission, which will be responsible for considering and making decisions on significant infrastructure planning applications from 1 March 2010. As a non-departmental public body, the IPC will operate within the policy framework prescribed in the Planning Act secondary legislation and the National Policy Statements.

3. NPSs covering Energy and Ports were published on 9 November 2009. The public consultations recently closed and taking these views into account, and subject parliamentary scrutiny, we expect these NPSs to be designated later this year.

4. Further NPSs will follow in due course. The National Networks (road and rail) NPS is expected to be published shortly and designated by the end of 2010. We expect to consult on the Waste Water NPSs in spring 2010 and the Hazardous Waste NPS in summer 2010, with the aim of designating them in 2011. We intend to consult on the Airports NPS in 2011 with a view to designating it later that year. Finally we hope to consult on the Water Supply NPS in late 2010 - once the final Water Resource Management Plans are published, which are needed to inform the NPS - with the aim of designating that NPS by early 2012. Further information is available at www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/planning/planningpolicyimplementation/reformplanningsystem/planningbill/

5. Where a relevant NPS is in place, the IPC will then take the decision on an application. If the relevant NPS has yet to be designated when an application reaches decision stage, the IPC will instead report with a recommendation to ministers.

6. Biographies for Commissioners, Non-Executive Directors, and Registered Commissioners:

Commissioners

Andrew Phillipson

Andrew is a Civil Engineer by profession and has worked for many years as a consultant in the UK and abroad.

He joins the IPC from the Planning Inspectorate, which he had been at since 1996. In recent years he has conducted a number of inquiries into major infrastructure and other projects.

He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Member of the Institution of Highways and Transportation.

Non-Executive Directors

David Clements

David is appointed as a non-executive director for a three year term.

David is a qualified civil engineer with more than 40 years experience in the planning, design and construction of infrastructure projects of all kinds, both in this country and abroad. His last executive role was as a member of the Group Executive of WS Atkins plc, where he was responsible for the group's interests in PFI and PPP projects. He has held a number of non-executive positions and is currently a non-executive Director of Partnerships UK plc and Taunton and Somerset Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

David is a non-executive Director of Partnerships UK (salary of £28,000). He is also a non-executive Board Member of the Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (salary of £15, 515).

Sheila Drew Smith OBE

Sheila is appointed as a non-executive director for a four year term.

Sheila is an economist by background and has worked in both the public and private sectors with particular focus on business planning and organisation development during periods of major change in government policy. She is currently a board member of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (salary of £12,000) and the Tenant Services Authority (salary of £13,000). Her term as an Audit Commissioner (salary of £14,000) ends shortly in April 2010.

Sheila has also chaired a number of other public bodies and been a member of the boards of the Housing Corporation and of Ordnance Survey. Previously she was a partner in the predecessor firm of Pricewaterhouse Coopers where her clients included several UK utilities as well as international organisations. Sheila was a Labour Party member prior to December 2007.

In accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees' political activity (if any) to be made public. Any political activity is set out above.

The permanent Commissioner appointment requires a time commitment of 3-5 days per week for an annual remuneration of £100,000 pro rata. The Non-Executive Director appointments will require a time commitment of 2-3 days a month commitment for an annual remuneration of £12,000 per year

Registered Commissioners

Registered Commissioners have been recruited to enable the IPC to manage a fluctuating workload. Once appointed to the Register, these Commissioners will be let individual contracts on a case-by-case basis.

The following have been appointed as Registered Commissioners:

Kate Barker, Martin Broderick, Richard Davies, Jonathan Green, Michael Hayes, Gordon Hughes, John Lloyd-Jones, Iwan Richards, Peter Robottom, Lorna Walker, Robert Baty, Frances Fernandes, John Glasson, Eira Hughes, Kelvin MacDonald, Barry Pearce.

Further appointments to the Register will be announced in due course.

Contacts:

Communities and Local Government Out of hours
Phone: 0303 444 1201
press.office@communities.gsi.gov.uk

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