By Angus Walker
Today's entry is an update on nationally significant
infrastructure projects being considered by the Infrastructure
Hinkley Point C nuclear power station
The application for the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power
station in Somerset is progressing. A total of 1197
representations were made on it and these have now been published on the
Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) website. The
preliminary meeting on the application is due to take place on 21
March. This kicks off the six month maximum period for
examining the application, i.e. it must end by 21 September.
There will then be three months for the IPC to make a
recommendation and (assuming the Localism Act changes have come in
by then) three months for the government to make a decision, i.e.
by 21 March 2013.
Sir Mike Pitt, chair of the IPC, has appointed three
commissioners to examine the application, leaving open the
possibility of appointing more later (the government thought there
might be five on the largest applications). Interestingly two
of the three were two of the three on the panel for the only
application so far to have completed its examination - the proposed
energy from waste project at Rookery South in Bedfordshire.
The IPC is clearly conscious that Hinkley Point C is its most
significant application to date and so (given that the third
Rookery South commissioner was the Hinkley Point 'pre-application'
commissioner) has maximised experience of the regime in its
The provisional list of principal issues for the examination
consists of traffic, the development consent order, socio-economic
effects, Combwich (a nearby village that I believe is pronounced
'cummidge') and landscape and visual impact.
The proposed Kentish Flats windfarm extension has also had its
preliminary meeting announced and (this time sole) commissioner
appointed. The former is on the 22 February and the latter is
Glyn Roberts, who again has experience of an application, having
been on the panel for the proposed energy from waste project at
Brig y Cwm near Merthyr Tydfil. That application did not
proceed to completion, however, being withdrawn by the
Of the two furthest-advanced applicatons before the IPC, both
for railway chords being promoted by Network Rail, one has
completed its hearings (five days) and the other starts them
The IPC has advertised for a specialist geological and
geotechnical assessor for the proposed Preesall gas storage project
in Lancashire, as the Planning Act allows it to appoint if it
considers that specialist advice is needed.
The Rookery South application is to have the memorials objecting
to the petitions made against it in Parliament considered on 8
An application has been made for the proposed Triton Knoll
windfarm off the Lincolnshire coast by RWE Npower. The IPC
has until 29 February to decide whether to accept it. This
brings the total of applications ever made to 13.
Meanwhile the pipeline of projects remains dry - no new projects
have appeared on the overall IPC project list for over three months
now. This could either be a lack of projects coming forward,
or a reluctance to announce a project to the IPC until it is good
and ready. If it is the former reason, that would be of some
concern given the urgent need for infrastructure.
Planning Act 2008 Blog Home
14 February 2012