Update the 2008 Planning Act and fix the Development Consent Order process

  • Action 1



    Publish new National Policy Statements for Renewables, Nuclear, and Energy Networks as soon as possible to provide certainty to reduce planning delays and regulatory uncertainty.

  • Action 2



    Create a true one-stop shop for major energy infrastructure projects by amending the 2008 Planning Act so developers no longer have to seek consents from multiple agencies for environmental and other regulatory permits. This requirement should be replaced with a statutory duty for the relevant Secretary of State to have due regard to public comments from relevant agencies.

  • Action 3



    Create a Clean Energy Task Force to speed up the deployment of new energy projects modelled on the existing National Case Team in the Department for Transport which discharges ‘requirements’ (the equivalent of planning conditions) for road projects. This would ensure local planning authorities are not required to replicate functions carried out by central government.

  • Action 4



    Address staffing constraints at DESNZ, Natural England, and the Environment Agency that risk creating bottlenecks within the planning process.

  • Action 5



    Prevent delays at the decision stage by creating a statutory requirement on the Secretary of State to consider if additional questions to the developer are necessary two months into the three month decision timeframe.

  • Action 6



    Extend the planned reduction in statutory timescales from 18 months to 12 months for offshore wind projects to all clean energy projects including solar, nuclear next to existing nuclear sites, and transmission lines. Additionally, there should be a presumption in statutory guidance that the pre-examination process should be limited to a maximum of 4 months.

  • Action 7



    The Secretary of State should be responsible for making a final decision on whether to accept projects for examination. The last three years has seen the same number of refusals and withdrawals at the first hurdle as in the first 10 years of the NSIP regime.

  • Action 8



    Automatically approve project amendments that have positive environmental impacts. Under the status quo, developers are forced to apply for additional planning permission to make changes with ‘materially new or materially different environmental effects’ even if the impact is positive.