The application for Palm Paper 3 Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) Power Station in Kings Lynn has been given development consent.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change have given development consent to Palm Paper CCGT Power station, which is the 50th Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) to be decided following examination by The Planning Inspectorate.
Applications for the projects considered to be of national significance are made under the Planning Act 2008, which was introduced to streamline the decision process, making it easier for communities and developers to encourage investment in the country’s vital infrastructure.
Before 2008, it could take several years to make decisions for major planning applications. Heathrow Terminal 5 took eight years to gain planning and other consents.
The Planning Act 2008 provides certainty on decision timescales, and requires developers to communicate with affected communities in preparation for submitting the applications for examination.
The Planning Inspectorate examines the application and makes a recommendation to the Secretary of State who makes the final decision. There are strict timescales for the completion of stages of the process and the average time of 14-15 months, from the date of submission to a decision being made.
Steve Quartermain, Chief Executive of The Planning Inspectorate, said: “This is a tremendous achievement for our Inspectors and casework staff. The regime is a success as it has streamlined the decision making process for the major infrastructure that the country needs whilst ensuring proposals are properly and robustly examined and ensuring local people can have their say.”
Of the 50 projects examined by the Inspectorate, 31 were energy, 16 transport, two waste and one waste water developments. The five projects that have attracted most interest to date are Thames Tideway Tunnel, Navitus Bay Offshore Wind Park, Hinkley Point C Connection, Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay and Hinkley Point C New Nuclear Power Station.
The Planning Inspectorate ensures local communities have the opportunity to make their views known and are able to participate in the examination process. Despite the type, size or location of the project, the Planning Inspectorate is fair, open and impartial.
Mark Southgate, Director for Major Applications and Plans at The Planning Inspectorate, said: “We encourage people to get involved in the examination of major projects both when developers are consulting on their proposals before submitting an application and when we are examining their application. We listen carefully to what all interested people tell us about a project that affects them, and we give full consideration to their views when making a recommendation to the Secretary of State.”