The Yorkshire Post by Mason Boycott-Owen

Yesterday ministers revealed plans to speed up the planning process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects after the time taken to get development consent almost doubled in the past 10 years.

Renewable energy generators have previously criticised the process, saying that it is increasingly difficult for the UK to reach its target to decarbonise the power grid by 2035.

A new fast track process will be piloted from September, with powers for the Secretary of State to set shorter timelines for certain projects.
The five areas of reform will give “a clearer framework for decisions, shorter timeframes to secure consent, greater protections for the environment, specialist help for councils and more expert advice to help get these projects off the ground,” a minister told the Yorkshire Post.
From next month, renewable developers will also be able to bid for deals which will guarantee a long-term price for their green energy.
Lee Rowley, the minister for local government, said that in the North, the reforms to this aspect of the planning system will allow councils to be “bold and ambitious” with projects that drive green growth and job creation.
Sam Richards, founder and Campaign Director for pro-growth campaign group Britain Remade, said: “The action plan published by the Government today is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough.

“At the time of a cost of living crisis that has seen energy bills skyrocket, government should be doing all it can to deliver domestic energy security, through clean energy projects, so we can bring down energy bills and no longer be reliant on expensive foreign gas.

“It currently takes up to 13 years for an offshore wind farm to go from being an idea to generating power, despite construction of the turbines only taking two to three years. While the reforms announced today may shave a few years off this, eleven years would still be far too long for an offshore wind farm to be up and running.”

Writing online for The Yorkshire Post, Lee Rowley, said: “Whether it’s faster roads, better public transport or world-beating R&D, every infrastructure project that gets the green light in the North is a win-win for the people, businesses and communities who make it what it is.


“That’s one of the reasons why we have published a new cross-government action plan to accelerate the approval of nationally significant infrastructure projects here in the North and across the country.

“With the right infrastructure in place, we will create more of the high-skilled, high-wage jobs our economy needs so that communities throughout the Northern Powerhouse can realise their true potential.”