A decision on the application for Danish offshore wind developer Ørsted’s A/S (CPH:ORSTED) 2.6-GW Hornsea Four offshore wind project in the UK has been delayed.
The Planning Inspectorate announced on Thursday that the deadline for the decision on the development consent application has been extended to July 12 from the current statutory deadline of February 22.
The Secretary of State has three months from the receipt of the Examining Authority’s report to make a decision but can also set a new deadline.
The Secretary of State needs extra time to consider additional information that is now being requested from the developer and Natural England. The request relates to updates or information on impacts on birds, the adequacy of the proposed compensation measures and the developer’s proposal to repurpose the Wenlock platform as an artificial nesting structure.
Industry group RenewableUK said the delay of nearly five months to the decision is a sign that the planning system needs reform.
"This decision clearly shows that Government needs to reform our cumbersome planning system urgently to ensure that renewable energy projects are not subject to needless delays,” said RenewableUK's executive director of policy Ana Musat.
“Due to unclear guidance to planning authorities, no offshore wind project wind since 2017 has been recommended for approval by the Planning Inspectorate. All 6 GW of these projects were delayed until the Secretary of State reviewed them to confirm approval,” Musat added.
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