810: Miscellaneous Planning Act news
Today’s entry is a miscellany of Planning Act related news.
A draft statutory instrument has been laid before Parliament to amend the thresholds for water projects that must use the Planning Act 2008 regime. It can be found here.
The SI does three things:
- it amends the size threshold for dams or reservoirs having to use the Planning Act 2008 regime from 10 million cubic metres (mcm) capacity to either 30mcm capacity or an output of 80 million litres (Ml) per day;
- it amends the size threshold for water transfer projects from 100mcm per year to 80Ml per day; and
- it introduces a new type of nationally significant infrastructure project, namely a desalination plant, also with an output threshold of 80Ml per day.
For your information and by my calculations, 80Ml per day is about 29.2mcm per year, so that threshold is being lowered to about third of its previous level, while the capacity one is being tripled. The Planning Act regime was switched on for water projects at the start of this year.
A draft statutory instrument has been published as part of the suite of Exiting the European Union legislation and can be found here. It amends:
- the Town and Country Planning Act 1990;
- the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004;
- the Planning Act 2008;
- the strategic environmental assessment regulations 2004;
- the Town and Country Planning (EIA) Regulations 2017; and
- the Infrastructure Planning (EIA) Regulations 2017.
The amendments are to reflect the post-Brexit situation. In fact the only amendment to the Planning Act 2008 itself is to schedule 6, the part of the Act that deals with changes to Development Consent Orders (DCOs).
Development Consent Order news
We are in a bit of a gap between DCO decisions – the last one was on 20 September (Eggborough) and the next one is not due until 20 February 2019 (Tilbury), reflecting the application drought a year ago.
There are however now 19 live applications for DCOs. There has been one application per month by National Highways for the last four months, making it the first promoter to have four applications going on at once (it was also the first to have three, but not two, that was Network Rail).
The latest application is to put the A303 in a tunnel as it goes past Stonehenge, which was made on the same day that the application for the Rail Central strategic rail freight interchange was not accepted for examination.
2084 representations were received in connection with the Manston Airport project, about half in favour and half against. This is the fourth highest number of representations to date.
In other airport news, Gatwick Airport has published a draft masterplan that says it is considering bringing its emergency runway into use as an operational runway. It says at paragraph 11 that if it does so it is likely to require a DCO. You wait ages for an airport DCO and then four come along at once.
Or could it be five? Stop Stansted Expansion has launched judicial review proceedings against the Secretary of State for Transport arguing that his decision to allow the local authority to consider current expansion proposals was wrong and the project should be considered a nationally significant infrastructure project. BBC story here.