DEFRA re-consults on what is "nationally significant’’ infrastructure

DEFRA is consulting until 26 April on new proposals for the types and sizes of infrastructure which should be considered as ‘nationally significant’ as part of its programme of work to develop a National Policy Statement (NPS) for water resources.

The Department said it had developed its thinking in light of its late 2017 consultation and further discussion with the water industry. The consultation provided “a wide range of helpful views and evidence but with no clear consensus on what might be the most effective sizes of infrastructure to include within the Planning Act 2008 definitions”.

DEFRA last week also published a summary of the 49 responses it received to the consultation. It sought views on the evidence base and the need for an NPS for water resources; the principles for development of the NPS, the Appraisal of Sustainability and the Habitats Regulation Assessment; and nationally significant infrastructure project definitions relevant to water resources in the Planning Act 2008 and proposed thresholds for the infrastructure types discussed.

The statement will simplify the process of gaining planning consents for large water infrastructure projects.