MPs to examine Defra Planning Policy for new Waste Water projects

18 November 2010

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has today launched an inquiry into the proposal for a National Policy Statement (NPS) on Waste Water, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 16 November. The NPS sets out the proposed policy framework to inform planning decisions on applications for large waste water infrastructure projects, such as sewage treatment works

The Committee’s scrutiny will focus on the following four areas:

1. Responses to the questions in Defra’s consultation.
2. Do the general planning principles set out in the proposed Waste Water NPS form a coherent, appropriate, proportionate and practical framework within which the Infrastructure Planning Commission and other planners can assess future waste water infrastructure planning applications?
3. Are the sustainability and environmental criteria outlined in the draft Waste Water NPS and associated documents appropriate, proportionate and practical?
4. Have issues or principles been left out which should have been included in the draft Waste Water NPS?

Committee Chair Anne McIntosh said “Waste water infrastructure is vital to our society and it is essential that its development is managed within the best planning framework. The principles and guidelines set out in the draft National Policy Statement will affect the granting of planning permission for certain key schemes and will therefore affect local communities and businesses as well as other stakeholders across the country. It is essential that we get this NPS right so my committee is keen to hear views or concerns from anyone with an interest in the proposed Waste Water NPS.

To help those wishing to submit evidence, the Committee will be given copies of written submissions made to the Department’s consultation (unless those submitting request otherwise). However, the Committee also welcomes comments from those who are not making a submission to Defra or who wish to make additional comments.

The Committee invites interested parties to submit written evidence by Wednesday 5 January 2011. (Please note that this is before Defra’s consultation response deadline of 22 February to enable the Committee to hold any oral evidence sessions—details of sessions for this inquiry will be announced in due course).

* * * *


Defra’s consultation on the NPS can be found at

The draft National Policy Statement (NPS) on Waste Water is one of a series of draft NPSs, published on 16 November 2010, under the Planning Act 2008. The Act established a new framework for the assessment and approval of planning proposals for nationally significant infrastructure projects such as water supply projects, hazardous waste, energy, ports, airports or major new railway lines.

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) is a new body which started receiving applications in March 2010. Its role is to assess infrastructure planning proposals which are defined as nationally significant under the Planning Act. The IPC will base its decisions on individual planning applications on a broad policy framework and key planning policy principles set out by the Government in National Policy Statements. The Government has announced that it intends to discontinue the IPC and transfer its functions to a Major Infrastructure Planning Unit reporting to Ministers in the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The right of Parliament to scrutinise proposals for an NPS is an important new power, and it falls to Select Committees to undertake detailed scrutiny, followed potentially by a debate on the floor of the House.

The Liaison Committee has today allocated the National Policy Statement on Waste Water to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee for Parliamentary scrutiny.

Notes for those submitting written evidence to the EFRA inquiry

Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be as brief as possible, and no more than 1,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary (no more than one page long).

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Personal information, such as address and contact details, should be provided separately from the body of your submission. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere (other than as part of Defra’s consultation process on this NPS). Once submitted, no public use should be made of the submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Committee. For further details about this inquiry, please contact Sarah Coe, Environment Specialist on 020 7219 2290.


Share this page