This week the LI responded to BEIS consultation on ‘Planning for new energy infrastructure: review of energy National Policy Statements.

Photo by Chris Barker on Unsplash

The Landscape Institute has responded to BEIS’s consultation ‘Planning for new energy infrastructure: review of energy National Policy Statements’. The energy National Policy Statements (NPS) set out the government’s policy for the delivery of energy infrastructure and provide the legal framework for planning decisions.

We support the review of the energy National Policy Statements (NPS) and welcome many of the changes to the policy. The LI consulted with our members to provide a holistic response. We have reviewed the various NPSs where relevant and set out potential areas for additions and amendments.

What are National Policy Statements?

National policy statements are produced and released by the government. The statements detail the reasoning behind policy choices and include explanations of how it incorporates government policy. The policy in these statements must explain how the government is mitigating climate change and/or adapting to it. NPSs cover the following areas; Energy, Transport, Water, and Waste. The focus of this consultation was on the energy NPSs.

How are they different to town planning guidance?

The energy NPSs covers the overarching delivery of energy infrastructure in the UK and provides the legal framework for planning decisions. They are separate from the usual planning processes under the Town and Country Planning act, are considered as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) and gain development consent under the Planning Act 2008.

Energy National Policy Statements

For energy there are 12 different NPSs that are set out across 6 different NPS documents. They are produced by the former Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), now the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The energy National Policy Statements (NPS) were first ‘designated’ in 2011 and the Planning Act 2008 provides that, NPSs must be reviewed if there has been a “significant change” in circumstances.

In recent years there had been a number of calls for the NPS to be reviewed in light of changed government policy, not least the net zero commitment. Following the publication of the Energy White Paper in December 2020, the Government announced that a review of the energy NPSs would commence to support their drive to net zero. The consultation does not include a revised EN-6 (which applies for nuclear projects deployable before 2025) due to a lack of need for review.

LI Response

You can see our full response here. Below are the LI’s headline comments

  • The LI strongly supports the drive towards Net Zero and, in particular welcomes, the new guidance sections for renewable energy development.
  • Overall, the strength and detail added to the landscape and visual considerations is welcome, these protections and considerations should not be eroded.
  • The new additions of guidance on biodiversity enhancement and protection are also vital.
  • Delivery of energy infrastructure will require a broad range of skills and additional capacity. Landscape practitioners possess many of the key competencies required.

For more information or comments please email the policy team: policy@landscapeinstitute.org

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