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Home / News and Insights / Blogs / Planning Act 2008 / 1023: Latest DCO decision and the annual champagne competition

This week’s entry covers the likely last decision on a Development Consent Order application for 2023 and the long-awaited annual Christmas competition.

Pipe dream

On 28 November 2023 the Secretary of State granted the application for the Slough Multifuel Project, 13 days earlier than the deadline, for a change. The project is undoubtedly the smallest in physical extent so far consented – the only external work is a single pipe that will run between two existing buildings (which are to undergo some internal works). Nevertheless given that the facility’s output will rise to 60MW, it needs a DCO to consent.

  • Project: two boiler improvements and a pipe at an energy-from-waste facility in Slough, Berkshire;
  • Promoter: SSE;
  • Application made: 30 September 2022;
  • Application decided: 28 November 2023, under 14 months, the fourth fastest from start to finish;
  • One inspector: Simon Warder;
  • Five relevant representations: the equal fewest;
  • One written representation that was later withdrawn: the fewest;
  • 52 questions in the first round: very low;
  • No hearings, the only DCO application not to have any so far (although the only material change application didn’t either);
  • One local impact report, from Slough;
  • One consultation during the decision stage; and
  • 220 documents were on the Planning Inspectorate web page on the date of the decision: very low.

To note from the 11-page decision letter – there were no outstanding relevant or written representations by the end of the examination, that’s the way to do it!

The only issue covered in any detail is the effect on habitats, with the conclusion that there was none of significance. Two minor changes were made to the DCO relating to fauna management and biosecurity.

The DCO is ony 14 page long, probably the shortest so far but I haven’t counted the now 122 others in existence.

This may not be the last decision of the year; at the time of writing, the decision on the Sunnica Solar Farm DCO application had been delayed for a second time from 7 December 2023 but a new deadline has yet to be given. Additionally, the decision on the re-determined Aquind application could pop up at any time.

Christmas champagne competition

This year’s annual Planning Act 2008 blog Christmas competition takes the form of five Wordle-style puzzles, each of which leads to a geographic word from a DCO project name, as can be found in the ‘Application’ column on this page.

You probably already know, but a green square means the letter is correct and in the correct place and a yellow square means the letter is in the answer but not in that position. Find the five words and the message indicated by the grey squares, and send your answer to [email protected] by Monday 8 January 2024. The first correct answer drawn from the virtual hat will win a bottle of champagne. Good luck!

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