The House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee have published their report into the six revised energy National Policy Statements. The committee has made 18 recommendations the more important of which is about the timing of the NPSs. The committee calls for the NPSs not to be finalised (‘designated’) until:
- the Localism Bill has been enacted and the abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) has occurred – probably April 2012;
- the national planning policy framework & national infrastructure plan are operational and
- harmonised with the electricity market reform process.
Although the committee acknowledge the need for new ‘green’ energy infrastructure is urgent they are worried the IPC will approve lots of projects of which one is the Covanta proposal. There is a developing view in the planning world that any applications to the IPC could in any event be ‘called in’ by the government for decision under the existing regime even if the NPSs are designated.
The committee approve of the replacement of the IPC as decision-making body by the government who will consider this report together with the results of the associated public consultation.