The consultation will consider introducing secondary legislation to amend the current Planning Act 2008.

The Planning Act 2008 classifies certain types of major schemes, such as power stations and large sewage treatment works, as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs).

The proposed secondary legislation would amend the Act to specify major sewer projects in England above a storage capacity threshold of 350,000 cubic metres as NSIPs.

They would then be able to go through the same planning application process as other NSIPs.

This would mean that a proposed major sewer project would submit a single application to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), rather than potentially multiple applications to many local planning authorities.

The public consultation will seek views on three specific questions:

1.Is the draft Section 14 Order’s 350,000 cubic-metre (m3) volume threshold for a proposed wastewater transfer and storage infrastructure set at an appropriate level, capturing only those projects which should be classed as NSIPs and so undergo the same streamlined planning process as other NSIPs?

2.If not, what threshold would be more appropriate and why?

3.Are the proposed “supplemental provisions” in the draft Section 14 Order appropriate?

The consultation is open until 5 October 2011.

Alison Brown

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