768: Keeping up with the Joneses: DNS latest
Today’s entry reports on how the Development of National Significance regime is getting on.
The Development of National Significance (DNS – or DAC in Welsh) regime is the Welsh regime similar to the Planning Act 2008 but for smaller projects and those not covered by the Planning Act in Wales.
The regime was introduced in March 2016, but the first application was not made until December. The register of projects, similar to the Planning Inspectorate’s list of projects for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects contains 14 entries, compared to 121 on the PINS list.
Of the 14 entries, one is ‘no longer proceeding,’ nine are ‘pre-application,’ two are ‘notification’ and two applications have actually been made. I think it would be better if the list was in order of how advanced the applications are, or it gave their status on the index page.
Just as the first application made under the Planning Act 2008 was not accepted for examination, the first application under this regime has run into a bit of difficulty. The application is for a 49.9MW biomass plant near Milford Haven in Pembrokeshire, promoted by Egnedol Wales Ltd. Its current status is ‘suspended until 30 September.’
The reason for that is, according to the ‘confirmation of suspension’ letter, the environmental statement is inadequate in respect of effects on several protected species and habitats, and further work is also required on the associated habitats regulations assessments.
You may be thinking that suspension for an inadequate environmental statement isn’t something to worry about in the Planning Act regime, but in fact the same thing could happen, it just hasn’t done so yet. Regulation 17 of the old EIA regulations (or regulation 20 of the new regulations) allows for suspension in the case of an inadequate environmental statement, and as it hasn’t happened yet, we don’t know whether the clock stops running on the six-month examination or not during the suspension. It has done for this DNS.
The second application to be made is another 49.9MW power station in Pembrokeshire, this time a co-generation combined heat and power plant, the developer being Valero Energy Ltd. This application was accepted on 12 July this year. It is already under examination – no hanging about in this case – but there will not be any hearings during the examination.
The inspector’s report must be issued in 24 weeks of acceptance, so rather faster than under the Planning Act.
The documents for a DNS are displayed on the Planning Inspectorate website like a planning appeal, with a simple list of documents in the order that they are received. There are already 318 relating to the first application, and although there is a ‘document type’, it would be easier if one could search for documents of particular type or with particular contents as is possible on the PINS Planning Act website.
In the first 18 months of the NSIP regime two applications were made and the first ran into difficulties. In the first 18 months of the DNS regime two applications have been made and the first has run into difficulties. Y mwy mae’n newid, y mwy mae’n aros yr un (using Google translate to go directly from French to Welsh…)