Energy Committee inquiry into national policy statements

06 January 2010

The Energy and Climate Change Committee holds the first evidence session of its inquiry into the Department of Energy and Climate Change's recently-published draft energy national policy statements (NPSs). First to appear before the Committee are officials from leading national planning, surveying and engineering institutions. Watch live from 9.15am.

The witnesses are:

9.15am

  • Matt Thomson, Acting Director Policy and Partnerships, Royal Town Planning Institute
  • Sue Percy, Director, Planning Aid
  • Hugh Ellis, Chief Planner, Town and Country Planning Association

10.15am

  • Graham Bocking, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
  • Richard Coakley, Vice President, Institution of Civil Engineers

This is the first of nine evidence sessions (PDF) - which end on 10 February.



Background

Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband, laid before Parliament on 9 November 2009 draft National Policy Statements (NPSs) setting out the national need for a low carbon secure energy mix.

The draft NPSs - which are now out for consultation - will remove unnecessary planning delays facing large energy proposals. They will be the basis on which individual planning decisions are made from March 2010 by the new Infrastructure Planning Commission.

The UK needs significantly more generating capacity in the longer term. One-third of that must be agreed and built over the next 15 years. While there are already proposals to build more energy infrastructure, more is needed.

The NPSs include proposals for a massive expansion in renewables, a new nuclear programme based around ten sites assessed as potentially suitable for new build, and a programme to demonstrate clean coal technology.

Parliamentary scrutiny

As well as a public consultation exercise, draft NPSs are also subject to parliamentary scrutiny. The Planning Act requires the Government to lay each draft NPS before Parliament, and to respond to the recommendations of a Committee of either House or a resolution of either House made within a specified period.

The Government has made a commitment that, where the Select Committee recommends that a debate should be held on a draft NPS, the Government will make time available for this in both Houses, ideally within six weeks of the Select Committee’s report.

The objective of the Energy and Climate Change Committee's current inquiry is to determine whether the draft energy NPSs provide a coherent and practical framework within which the new Infrastructure Planning Commission can assess future planning applications for energy infrastructure.

This first evidence session will cover a broad range of issues, including:

  • whether the draft energy NPSs take adequate account of the carbon impact of new infrastructure
  • whether they justify the need for new non-renewable generating capacity
  • the role of the NPSs within the rest of the planning system
  • the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s consultation process

Image: iStockphoto

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