Consenting Process

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPS) support the national economy and vital services.

NSIPS can be onshore power stations, offshore wind farms, major road or rail projects and, most recently, major commercial developments.

The Meaford Energy Centre qualifies as a NSIPS as it has a generating capacity of over 50MW.

In order to build a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, a promoter needs to obtain a Development Consent Order (DCO) - a form of planning consent that grants powers to build an NSIP.

Planning Inspectorate's role

The Planning Inspectorate is the government agency that is responsible for managing the consenting process for NSIPS.

The Planning Inspectorate will receive and assess our DCO Application. Providing we have correctly undertaken statutory consultation and our application contains all the right documentation, it will then undertake a public examination of our application.

Once the examination is complete, it will make a recommendation on whether to grant the DCO to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

The Secretary of State will ultimately decide on whether to grant the DCO.

The determination process

Pre-application
We undertook non statutory and statutory consultation as part of the determination process. This included distribution of leaflets, letters, local meetings, presentations, public legal notices, and hosting public exhibitions.

Acceptance
We are currently at this stage. We have submitted our DCO Application to the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate will check that sufficient public consultation has taken place and that the right documents have been submitted and accept our application for examination.

Pre-examination
The Planning Inspectorate will invite everyone who may have an interest in our application to register for participation in the examination as well as setting a timetable for the examination.

Examination
Examination takes six months. The Planning Inspectorate's appointed inspector for the examining authority will oversee the examination. He or she will ask the applicant and participants to respond to written questions but will also hold public hearings.

Decision
The Planning Inspector will have three months to write a report that recommends whether or not the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change should grant a DCO. The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change will then make the final decision.

Post-decision
After a decision is made, there is a six-week period in which to challenge the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change's decision.

It can take up to 15 months from the acceptance of the DCO Application to the Secretary of State making his or her decision.