This section looks at the key differences between using the Planning Act 2008 to secure development consent for major infrastructure projects when compared with a traditional Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (or deemed) planning permission.
On the face of it, the majority of major infrastructure projects will not have a choice; if they qualify as a nationally significant infrastructure then they are required to obtain development consent.
However, there are some circumstances where a developer may have a degree of choice. For example, it is open to a developer to promote a scheme that falls just short of a threshold. For example an onshore generating station with a capacity of 49MW.
The Secretary of State also has a role to play here. The Secretary of State may direct, if requested, that a proposed project, which would not otherwise be an NSIP, be treated to be as NSIP. On 13th August 2013 the Secretary of State for Transported made such a direction in response to a request by Norfolk City Council in respect of its Norwich Northern Distributor Road.
Additionally, the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 and its associated regulations and government policy statement enable certain the Secretary of State to direct that certain business and commercial projects can be treated as NSIP’s in response to a request from the developer. The developer of the London Paramount Entertainment Resort, a proposed theme park and leisure resort in Kent, had their request to be treated as an NSIP granted by the Secretary of State.
So, given that there may be a degree of choice what are the pros and cons of NSIP status?