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22 December 2017

782: Review of 2017 in infrastructure

As it is now traditional for the last post of the year, here is a review of the year based around the predictions I made back in January.

Eight applications will be decided in 2017

Correct! The Planning Act’s fixed timescales mean it is reasonably easy to predict the number of decisions made each year, since every undecided application that has had its preliminary meeting should be decided during the year. Having said that I was wrong for the last two years due to decisions being delayed. This time I was lucky because one decision was delayed from 2016 to 2017 (CCS Pipeline – see below) and another from 2017 to 2018 (Silvertown tunnel).

Seven of the eight decisions will be approvals

Correct! Seven were approved, but the eighth, the much delayed Yorkshire and Humber CCS pipeline project, was refused on 11 January.

Two National Policy Statements will be published in draft

Nearly right. One was published in draft, the Airports NPS in February, (and the republished in October – does that count as two?) and two more had pre-publication consultations about them (Water and a new Nuclear Power NPS). So if those two could as a half each, that’s two in total!

No judicial reviews of DCO decisions will be successful

Correct! There were three: a judicial review of the Whitemoss hazardous waste DCO, the North Wales Connection DCO, and the then forthcoming Airports NPS were all unsuccessful.

The Richborough Connection project will be given consent on 8 June

Wrong! The decision was delayed by two months because that was the date of the general election (who knew?) and was decided shortly before the new deadline on 3 August.

No applications will contain housing in 2017

Correct! Although the Housing and Planning Act 2016 has allowed an element of housing in DCO applications since April, no application has yet to take advantage of this.

The Planning Act 2008 regime will not be amended by primary legislation

Correct! The Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 nearly did when it was going to set up the National Infrastructure Commission, but in the end made no changes to the 2008 Act. The changes about temporary occupation of land will however affect the regime when they come into force as they apply to all powers of temporary occupation.

An application for a business or commercial project will be made

Wrong! I’ve been saying this every year since the ability to seek consent for a business or commercial project came in in December 2013 and I haven’t been right yet. I’m still backing our client London Resort Company Holdings Ltd to make such an application next year, though!

The National Infrastructure Commission will publish its vision and priorities for its National Infrastructure Assessment

Correct! Although it was a bit delayed, this was indeed published in October and entitled ‘Congestion, Capacity, Carbon‘. In the small print of my prediction I expected it in July so not quite right there.

This blog will clock up 750 posts in 2017

Correct! Achieved by a clear 32 posts, although it was quite an easy target. I set it low because I was expecting to be pretty busy this year and that’s how it turned out. I hope you have had a successful year too – have a great festive break and a prosperous 2018!

I have yet to receive a fully correct solution to my Christmas champagne competition, although there are three or four close entries. They’ll go into the hat for the prize at the moment, but if someone gets it completely correct, they’ll trump them all!

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