The Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) process deals with the granting of development consent for large-scale projects, such as:
major new transport, utilities and energy infrastructure
large-scale business and commercial developments
Development Consent Orders (DCOs) are a form of planning permission that can integrate other types of approval, such as highways / infrastructure works and Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO).
NSIP applications are examined by The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) through independent examination, a form of public inquiry, rather than by the Council as the Local Planning Authority. The project developers are nevertheless required to carry out extensive pre-application public consultation prior to submitting their application direct to PINS. After examining an application the Planning Inspectorate makes a report and recommendation on the project to the Secretary of State (usually for Transport) who then decides whether to grant or refuse development consent.
Phase Two (also known as IAMP Two) will to be subject to a Development Consent Order application. For information, Phase One (and which is entirely located in Sunderland) has been already subject to a planning application.
What does NSIP designation mean for Planning Applications?
The Government's direction under Section 35 of the Planning Act 2008 means that any planning application for that particular development project must now go through the Government's Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) development consent order (DCO) process.
The NSIP consenting process brings together planning, land assembly, environmental and access matters for a proposed project within a single consultation, application, public examination and decision making process, determined by the Secretary of State. If successful, this would result in a development consent order, which would contain all permissions, powers and consents necessary to enable the project to proceed.
The S35 direction also means that the Council (as the Local Planning Authority) must refer any planning application or proposed application for development falling within the scope of the Secretary of State's direction to the Secretary of State instead of dealing with it themselves. The Council will therefore be unable to validate planning applications made for any element of such development under the usual Town and Country Planning Act 1990 procedures.
Landowners, developers or their agents seeking to engage in pre-application discussions relating to any development within the Section 35 boundary are therefore advised to contact the Council before proceeding. We will then take a decision with our legal advisors on whether the proposal should be referred to the Secretary of State.
Any application made for a development consent order must comply with Chapter 2 of Part 5 (pre-application procedure) of the Planning Act 2008 (as amended) and be of a standard that the Secretary of State finds satisfactory.
It is an offence to carry out development for which development consent is required at a time when no development consent is in force in respect of that development.