Cambridgeshire County Council is aware that MVV Environment Ltd is proposing an Energy from Waste Combined Heat and Power (EfW CHP) project in the Medworth ward of Wisbech that will be determined by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The above project falls into the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) process defined through the Planning Act 2008 (as amended), and will be considered under Part 3 Section 14 of the legislation because the generating station is located in England and has a generating capacity of over 50 megawatts (see section 15(2) of the 2008 Act). Responsibility for accepting and examining the NSIP application rests with the Secretary of State and not the local authorities, who are identified as statutory consultees, or ‘host’ authorities, in the NSIP process.
The whole NSIP process from the formal submission of the application through to determination is normally in the region of 16 months. This is broken down as follows:
- 28 days for the Planning Inspectorate to accept the application;
- A flexible period for pre-examination of around 3 months*;
- A maximum of 6 months for the Examination;
- A further 3 months for a recommendation to be provided to the Secretary of State by the Planning Inspectorate; and
- 3 months for the Secretary of State to make a decision.
* As the pre-examination stage doesn’t have a formal timescale each project will be different, but nonetheless it does provide a useful starting point.
The role of the local authorities as statutory consultees can be summarised in three ways:
- Scrutinising the applicants assessment of the NSIP application;
- Offering technical advice as part of the consultation process; and
- Ensuring that adequate public consultation is carried out.
The local authorities will also be involved in producing Local Impact Reports (LIRs) and these are technical documents setting out the evidence based assessments of the impacts of the proposal on the communities affected ready for the Examination Stage.
As the current proposal spans Cambridgeshire and Norfolk there are four ‘host’ authorities (Cambridgeshire County Council, Fenland District Council, Norfolk County Council and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk) involved in this NSIP project. All four ‘host’ planning authorities have undertaken to work together as far as possible to ensure full scrutiny of this project is undertaken.
It is important to note that as the ‘host’ planning authorities are not the determining authorities, any correspondence in relation to this matter needs to be directed to MVV in the first instance and then the Planning Inspectorate.
For further details of the NSIP process for this project, please visit the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) website.