Progress of the Energy National Policy Statements – IPC Increasingly Irrelevant

On July 15th the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced a further consultation on the Energy National Policy Statements.

Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy said: “For large energy projects we need to give industry maximum certainty, so that if sound proposals come forward, they will not fall victim to unnecessary hold-ups. We have decided to take a further look at the Appraisal of Sustainability of our draft Energy Policy Statements to make sure that they are fit for purpose. Taking this decision now is essential to safeguard our long-term goal of a sustainable and secure energy supply”.

Notes for MMAG supporters:

DECC has already consulted on the Energy National Policy Statements. Having considered the responses to that consultation, the DECC have decided to take a further look at the Appraisals of Sustainability (AoSs) of the NPSs. The reconsultation will provide a chance to look at the reworked AoS and the changes to the draft NPSs. Under the Planning Act 2008 an appraisal of sustainability (AoS) must be carried out on the policies set out in any NPS before it is designated. An AoS is an assessment of the environmental, social and economic impacts of implementing a policy, and includes comparison with reasonable alternatives to the preferred policy.

Clearly MMAG will be making the point that the scale and nature of the Covanta proposal must invite reasonable alternatives – hence the importance of the BEaR Project and our focus on local communities dealing with their own waste.  This means in effect the IPC will have no statements on which to judge the Covanta proposal and can only make a recommendation to the Secretary of State ( if not abolished first !)

The full written statement to Parliament by Charles Hendry MP, Minister of State for Energy was as follows:

“Today I am announcing that the Government will be launching a re-consultation in the autumn on the draft energy National Policy  Statements following the consultation undertaken by the previous administration earlier this year, and in particular due to changes which have been made to the Appraisal of Sustainability for the Overarching Energy National Policy Statement. The revised statements will give investors the certainty they need to bring forward proposals to maintain security of supply and ensure progress towards decarbonisation and plans for the first new nuclear power station to begin generating electricity by 2018 remain on course. We intend to present the finalised statements to Parliament for ratification next Spring. A detailed implementation plan for planning reform on major infrastructure – including transitional arrangements and a revised timetable – will be published later in the summer.”