The Infrastructure Planning Commission, an independent body set up by the last Government, will be scrapped, according to Greg Clark, the Decentralisation Minister
The IPC, which has the power to approve major infrastructure projects such as offshore wind farms and nuclear power stations, will be replaced by the Major Infrastructure Planning Unit, with ministers responsible for making major project decisions.
Clark said: “New infrastructure is critical to the country’s return to economic growth and we believe we must have a fast-track system for major projects – but it must be accountable. The previous system lacked any democratic legitimacy by giving decision-making power away to a distant quango.”
Business organisations such as the Institute of Directors and the British Chambers of Commerce have responded critically. Miles Templemann, Director-General of the IoD, said that the decision “can’t be reconciled with the Government’s ‘open for business’ agenda”. And Adam Marshall of the BCC said: “The Commission’s abolition puts politics back into the planning system at a time when an overwhelming majority of businesses say that they want key infrastructure schemes decided by experts, not politicians.”
Until the new legislation is approved by Parliament, the IPC will continue to consider and determine applications to ensure that there is no delay for pending projects.