There will be a new fast-track planning route for major infrastructure projects such as offshore wind farms and road improvements in England and Wales, so that they can be realised faster.
The announcement was made on Tuesday by UK Secretary of State for Levelling Up Greg Clark.
Thanks to new powers, it will be possible to set shorter deadlines for examinations of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. The decision whether to apply the shorter deadline will be made by the relevant Secretary of the State, for Energy, Transport, Environment or Levelling Up.
The new powers will also provide for faster decisions on smaller changes to projects that have already been approved.
The changes to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects process will be made through amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.
“Particularly in a time of high inflation, things need to be done more quickly or costs of major infrastructure projects will rise,” said Levelling Up Secretary Greg Clark. “These changes will help deliver new infrastructure more quickly, by speeding up the planning process which often moves too slowly,” he added.
The announcement aligns with the British Energy Security Strategy, where the government committed to reducing consent time for offshore wind projects from up to four years down to one year.
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