Frequently asked questions

View this section for answers to our most frequently asked questions regarding the national infrastructure application process. Use the links below to jump to the relevant section or search to find the answer you are looking for. If any FAQs do not answer your query, then please contact us and one of our staff will be happy to help you.

The Planning Act 2008, Section 53: Rights of entry – FAQs Compilation of advice issued to applicants (and others) relating to authorisations for rights of entry to land to carry out surveys and take levels.

The Planning Act 2008, Section 47: Community consultation – FAQs Compilation of advice issued to local communities about the Pre-application procedure and community consultation.

Jump to section:

General questions
Pre-application – Information for local authorities, statutory consultees and the public
Pre-application – Information for developers
Post decision



What happened to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC)The IPC was abolished under the Localism Act 2011. It's work transferred to the Planning Inspectorate an Executive Agency of DCLG.
Where should I apply for consent for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project Applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects must now be submitted to the National Infrastructure Directorate of the Planning Inspectorate.
What are the main differences between the Planning Act 2008 process in England and Wales?The differences are complex and reflect the agreed devolution powers.

The Planning Inspectorate is a cross-border body working both in England and in Wales, with a number of Welsh Inspectors and Welsh speaking staff.

In Wales there are fewer types of project that the Planning Inspectorate has jurisdiction over as compared to England. In England associated development can be made part of the application to the Planning Inspectorate whereas in Wales in most cases a separate application would have to be made to the authority who normally consents such development.

Further information can be found in section 14 of the Planning Act 2008.
How do you handle information under your openness policy?The fundamental values of the Planning Inspectorate are its commitment to openness, transparency and impartiality in the conduct of its business. We are committed to proactively publishing information which we hold unless to do so would be likely to damage the effective conduct of the Planning Inspectorate's statutory functions or the conduct of its business.

The Planning Inspectorate has an active role in advising on the requirements and processes of the planning regime for national infrastructure and this can be found on our advice notes. We publish all documents submitted to us in connection with applications with the exception of any draft or working documents which are incomplete and potentially inaccurate or misleading. However, a record of all advice given by the Planning Inspectorate is published in our register of advice, as required by the Planning Act 2008 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011).

When conducting the formal examination of applications, all evidence available to the Inspector/s is open to interested parties and the wider public through our pages on this website.
How can I be kept up to date on proposed developments for my area and Planning Inspectorate announcements relating to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects?Once the Planning Inspectorate is notified by a developer of a proposed project, it will be added to the published Programme of Projects.

We offer an email notification service that notifies subscribers of updates during the life cycle of an application. We also offer a RSS feed covering the key milestones of all projects listed on this website.

You can also follow the Planning Inspectorate on Twitter.
How do I get hold of documentation about an application?Once an application has been accepted as adequate by the Planning Inspectorate, the applicant will, amongst other things, publish a notice on their application site and in the local and national press telling people where the application documents can be viewed, and explain copying arrangements.

In addition, application documents will be made available on the relevant project page of this website. Hard copies may be requested, for details on costs please see the charges for information page on the Department of Communities and Local Government website.
Are the Planning Inspectorate statutory deadlines for NSIP applications working days?All statutory deadlines under the Planning Act 2008 that are set out for the Planning Inspectorate are calendar days except for the deadline set by regulation 10 of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009. This deadline is made in working days and relates to compliance with section 56 of the Planning Act 2008.
How are Inspectors appointed to work at the Planning Inspectorate?Inspectors are appointed to the Planning Inspectorate by the organisation. They are either salaried Inspectors or non salaried Inspectors who are contracted to work for the organisation on either a permanent basis or on the basis of fixed work programmes.
How does the system work?The process comprises six key stages, including pre-application, acceptance, pre-examination, examination, decision and post-decision stages. Upon receipt of an application for development consent, the Planning Inspectorate has 28 days to decide whether or not to accept it. We have 6 months to examine an application and 3 months to make our recommendation. Independent Inspectors make their recommendations to the Secretary of State within the framework provided by the Government's National Policy Statements (NPS).

Further information: process, legislation, advice notes
How many people work in National Infrastructure?The Planning Inspectorate employs over 700 staff and Inspectors, of these around 70 staff work in the national infrastructure directorate. Inspectors are drawn from a pool of salaried and non-salaried Inspectors and are called upon when needed. Our flexible workforce means we can match people and resources to caseload demand.
How long will decisions take?From accepting an application to making a decision, the whole process should last in the region of 15 months. Previously, the average time taken for major applications was around 2 years (100 weeks).
What national infrastructure applications are examined by the Planning Inspectorate?The infrastructure projects dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate are known as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). Projects are within the five general fields of energy, transport, water, waste water and waste. Examples include power stations, railways and major roads, reservoirs, harbours, airports, wind farms and sewage treatment works - in other words, the kinds of large scale facilities that support the everyday life of the country.

The thresholds are set out in sections 15-30 of the 2008 Planning Act.
What development is still considered by Local Authorities?Developments that do not meet the thresholds laid down in part 3 of the Planning Act 2008 will continue to be considered by the existing process, for example under the Town and Country Planning Act. The Planning Inspectorate has no role in considering these applications.


Information for local authorities, statutory consultees and members of the public
See advice notes 8.1-8.5 for further information on consultation
How can I get involved in having my say on a project?The chance to influence, for example the design, layout, or location of a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project takes place in the pre-application stage before the developer finalises their application and submits it to the Planning Inspectorate. To have your say in shaping a project contact the developer to see how to get involved, or look out for advertisements detailing when different consultation events are being held. Once an application has been accepted, look out for the developer's notification about the registration period. During this period you can register with the Planning Inspectorate to have your say during the examination process. See Advice Notes 8.1-8.5 for further information
Will my views be taken into account?Developers have a duty to take into account all consultation responses at the pre-application stage and must summarise them in a Consultation Report also explaining how they have had regard to consultation responses.

See Advice Notes 8.1 - 8.5 for further information and Section 37(7) of the Planning Act 2008
In the pre-application stage who is responsible for ensuring local residents are correctly informed about the proposal and how will the local residents be involved?The developer is responsible for correctly advertising the proposal under section 48 of the Planning Act 2008. This involves advertising in the local press.

See Advice Notes 8.1 - 8.5 for further information
How/when can interested parties provide input on the consultation process undertaken by the developer?The relevant local authority (LA) or authorities may submit an “adequacy of consultation representation” under section 55(4)(b) of the Planning Act 2008 once an application is submitted. Others may wish to send comments on the consultation process directly to the relevant LAs.
If we are not considered to be a local authority 'A', 'B' 'C' or 'D' but a proposal may have a visual impact on our area, should we be consulted by the developer?Developers are expected to consult widely on their proposals and have regard to Government guidance as well as the views of relevant local authorities on their proposed consultation of the local community under s.47 of the Planning Act 2008. Advice on the approach taken by the Secretary of State when identifying consultees in relation to Environmental Impact Assessment scoping consultation, including where a proposal might have a visual impact on an area which is not situated in a relevant local authority area, can be found in Advice Note 3. Developers would normally be expected to take the same approach to identifying consultees when carrying out their s.42 consultation or alternatively explain in the consultation report submitted with their application for development consent why they have chosen not to do so.
I am a statutory consultee - what does this mean?Statutory consultees are organisations that should be consulted on relevant projects.

Statutory consultees are listed in schedule 1 of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009. The schedule also indicates the circumstances in which a statutory consultee is to be consulted. For example, whereas the Environment Agency must be consulted in all NSIP cases, the Office of Rail Regulation must be consulted only on proposed applications which are likely to affect the rail transport industry.
We are not sure if we are a statutory consultee for this project but we feel that we should be consulted on the proposed application and we haven't been.A list of statutory consultees is prescribed in Schedule 1 of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms & Procedure) Regulations 2009. If you are a statutory consultee for the project the developer has a duty to consult with everyone as prescribed under section 42 of the Planning Act 2008.

If you are unclear as to whether you are a statutory consultee for a particular project, please contact the Planning Inspectorate. In any event the developer must conduct a public consultation and you may participate in that.
Can the response periods for Local Authorities (LAs) be extended to take into account resource issues? In particular, Local Impact Reports (LIRs) will require LAs to obtain responses from statutory and other consultees.The time frame prescribed for the examination stage is fixed and so local authorities must expect to submit the LIR within a very short time frame. It is very important therefore for local authorities to begin work on the LIR well before the start of the examination. There is no requirement under Section 60 of the Planning Act 2008 for LAs to carry out a consultation exercise prior to preparing and submitting their LIR to the Planning Inspectorate. Statutory consultees and other interested parties may submit their representations directly to the Planning Inspectorate.

Guidance on the preparation of LIRs is available in Advice Note 1: Local Impact Reports and section 10 of Communities and Local Government Guidance for Local Authorities. The deadline for the submission of the LIR will be set by the Examining Authority at or soon after the preliminary meeting. The LIR is an important report giving details of the likely impact of the proposed development on the authority's area. The LA can decide on the contents of the report. The LIR must be considered by the decision-maker.
How do we prepare a Local Impact Report?The Local Impact Report (LIR) is a vital document that will help to inform Inspectors recommendations. It should give details of the likely effects of the proposed development on the authority's area, or any part of it.

Guidance on the preparation of the LIRs is available in Advice Note 1: Local Impact Reports and section 10 of Communities and Local Government Guidance for Local Authorities.
What is the difference between being a statutory consultee and an interested party?At the pre-application stage the onus is on the developer to consult with statutory consultees (as defined by Schedule 1 of The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms And Procedures) Regulations 2009 ) and the local community. Once the application has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate the developer must publicise this and set a deadline for the receipt of 'relevant representations'.

Any member of the public who makes a relevant representation becomes an interested party at this stage and statutory consultees are also then deemed interested parties under section 102 of Planning Act 2008. All interested parties will be invited to make further written representations and take part in the examination.
How can stakeholders comment on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process at the pre-application stage when the Environmental Statement (ES) is not formally published until it is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate?Where an application is EIA development, stakeholders will have the opportunity to comment on Preliminary Environmental Information (PEI) at the pre-application stage and make relevant and written representations to the Examining Authority on the Environmental Statement at the pre-examination and examination stages. Although not required by legislation, a developer may decide to share relevant chapters of the draft ES with stakeholders prior to submission of a Development Consent Order application in order to obtain comments and address any issues prior to submission.
What is a Statement of Community Consultation? How do I contribute to this?The Statement of Community Consultation (SOCC) is produced by the developer to determine the way they will consult with the local community prior to application. The SOCC is sent to the local authority to comment on. The developer must consult with the Local Authority within whose boundary the proposals fall and allow at least 28 days for response. These discussions will be an opportunity for the Local Authority to help the developer devise a consultation programme that is sensitive to the make-up of the communities likely to be affected by a proposal. Further information can be found in CLG's Guidance on pre-application consultation.

The developer must have regard to comments received from the local authority and then carry out the consultation with the local community as set out in the SOCC.

If local people have ideas on how community consultation is best carried out, they can submit them to their local authority to pass on to the developer in its response to the SOCC. Alternatively they can advise the developer directly using the contact details provided in their publicity material or on the programme of projects.
What if a proposal covers a number of local authorities - how do we need to work together?The Planning Inspectorate encourages dialogue between local authorities affected by a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP).

Ultimately, it is for the particular local authority to judge how best to respond to the Planning Inspectorate when notified of a NSIP proposal. However, if several local authorities are affected they may wish to discuss and co-ordinate representations and the content of Local Impact Reports, if this is the clearest and most effective means of conveying their views.
How can we ensure that our local communities are properly consulted and able to have their views considered?Local authorities can achieve this by advising people on how to find out more about a proposal, and the opportunities for being involved. This can be done through contact with the developer or the Planning Inspectorate.

Consultation with local communities will be enhanced through thorough and informative responses that are given to the developer's Statement of Community Consultation on the proposed application.


Information for developers, for further info see the process page.
How do I apply to the Planning Inspectorate?You must apply for an Order granting Development Consent to the Planning Inspectorate using the correct forms and providing the necessary range of documents, including plans, statements, Environmental Statement if required and a draft of the Order itself. The exact details of the required application submissions can be obtained from section 37 of the 2008 Planning Act and regulations 5-7 of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009. The application form and associated guidance is available for downloading on the submitting an application page.
When does the formal pre-application stage start?Advice Note 8.1 explains that the process begins when the Planning Inspectorate is informed by a developer that they intend to submit an application in the future. The project is then added to the Programme of Projects along with the expected date of submission.

Formally the pre-application stage starts when the developer notifies the Planning Inspectorate under section 46 of the Planning Act 2008 before starting their consultation under section 42.
Will you look at our draft Environmental Statement (ES)?We will advise where possible and lawful on particular issues regarding a draft ES, but will not normally have the resources to review a full draft ES. Developers should take their own professional advice and ensure that the ES meets the requirements of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 and, where a scoping opinion has been sought from the Planning Inspectorate or its predecessor, that the ES has addressed the matters identified in the opinion. Liaison with relevant statutory bodies at pre-application stage is particularly important.

For further information see Advice Note 10.
Why are you asking for anticipated submission dates?Anticipated submission dates help the Planning Inspectorate to plan the allocation of its resources to different projects. The dates do not have to be exact but a realistic estimate is appreciated and gives the public and other stakeholders an awareness of proposals which may be coming forward.
How do I prepare a Statement of Community Consultation?In preparing the Statement of Community Consultation (SOCC), the Planning Inspectorate strongly advises that the developer makes contact with the local authorities as early as possible. Further advice is available in the legislation and advice section of this website.

Local authorities will have valuable local knowledge about the make-up of local communities and information on local bodies that can usefully be consulted, for example community groups.
Can changes to a Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC) be made if they are 'enhancements' and are agreed with the relevant local authority, without preparing and publicising a new SoCC?Once a SoCC has been advertised there is only limited flexibility to vary how the developer is to carry out the consultation set out in the Statement, without needing to prepare and publicise a new SoCC. The degree of flexibility that may be possible in each case will, amongst other things, depend on how the particular Statement is worded, and whether any departures from what is set out in the SoCC have been notified to and agreed beforehand with the relevant local authority.

The developer may, for example, be able consult more widely and/or more extensively than is required by a SoCC without having to prepare and publicise a new SoCC. However, if the changes, for example, resulted in fewer people and/or a smaller area being consulted than required under the SoCC, then this may not be sufficient to show compliance with s.47 of the Planning Act 2008 as amended. In any event, the developer should explain the approach taken to carrying out their s.47 consultation in their Consultation Report.

If s.47 has not been complied with then there is a risk that an application may not be accepted. This is because there is a statutory duty on developers under s.47(7) to carry out their local community consultation in accordance with the proposals set out in the Statement, and the Secretary of State may only accept an application if, amongst other matters, he is satisfied that the applicant has complied with the pre-application procedure including s.47. The adequacy of any consultation is a matter for the Secretary of State to consider in each case under s.55 of the Planning Act 2008, and we cannot pre-judge what decision he might make.
Who do I need to consult and how?Before an application is submitted the developer must consult widely in order to refine the proposal. There are many organisations that need to be consulted during the process. A list of these bodies can be found in sections 42-44 of the Planning Act 2008 and Schedule 1 of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009. These include local authorities and those owning or having an interest in the land concerned.

If an application is accepted for examination, the applicant must also notify certain bodies of this decision and publish notices in the press inviting members of the public and other persons to register their interest in the application.
What publicity do I need to undertake as part of the application process?Once an application is accepted by the Planning Inspectorate enabling the examination to begin, the applicant must notify the relevant local authorities and publicise the applications by means of a notice according to section 56 of the 2008 Planning Act.

The notice must be published in the press and other journals. In addition, the notice must be displayed in an accessible place at the site, or, if the scheme is linear, then at intervals of no more than 5km. The notice must set out how the application documents can be inspected and include a timescale for comments to the Planning Inspectorate.

The full details of this publicity are set out in regulation 9 of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedure) Regulations 2009 and the Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules 2010.


For further info see the process page.
Who has the responsibility for notification of an accepted application at the pre-examination stage?The applicant has the responsibility to notify the relevant Local Authorities, all statutory consultees and persons with an interest or right in the land (as defined in the Planning Act 2008).

The Planning Inspectorate will also update the project pages on the portal. You can also subscribe to the newsletter and follow the progress of accepted applications on Twitter, see the register of applications page for a list of available accounts.

Under s.56 of the Planning Act 2008 the applicant also has a duty to publicise an accepted application in the manner prescribed in Regulation 4 of the The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms And Procedures) Regulations 2009. This publication must set the deadline for the receipt of relevant representations by the Planning Inspectorate which must be a period of at least 28 days that follows the date when the notice been last published in the local newspaper.
What is a Certificate under section 58?A certificate under s.58 of the Planning Act 2008 is a document that certifies to the Planning Inspectorate that the applicant has complied with s.56 ("Notifying Persons of Accepted Applications"). The prescribed form can be found in schedule 3 of The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms And Procedures) Regulations 2009.

The applicant must certify to the Planning Inspectorate within 10 working days immediately following the deadline for receipt of relevant representations that they have complied with s.56 of the Planning Act 2008. In a case where no such certificate is received the Planning Inspectorate will be unable to commence examination of the application and ExA cannot be appointed as per s.61(1b) of Planning Act 2008.
How can the Planning Inspectorate decide whether the pre-application consultation has been adequate when the local authorities who submit a response to the Planning Inspectorate about adequacy may not know that the applicant has done what it said it would do?When deciding whether to accept an application for examination, it must be concluded that the applicant has complied with the pre-application procedure and has taken into account any 'adequacy of consultation representation' from a local authority on whether the applicant has complied with s42, s47 and s48 of the Planning Act 2008. It might be helpful to local authorities if they try to ensure the developer includes in its Statement of Community Consultation (prepared under s47) the means to monitor the situation. This could include requiring the developer to provide evidence during the process direct to the local authorities involved of activities undertaken. This way the local authorities can be more confident in submitting details about the adequacy of consultation.


For further info see the process page.
How long does the pre-examination take?The pre-examination period begins if the Planning Inspectorate accepts the application submitted to it. This stage of the process has no fixed timetable as it is up to the developer to determine how long they wish to allow for interested parties to submit relevant representations (subject to a minimum of 28 days), but we expect it to normally take approximately 3 months to complete all the stages of the pre-examination.

The pre-examination ends on the day after the last day of the preliminary meeting which is when the examination period commences ( section 98 of the Planning Act 2008).
What is the preliminary meeting?The preliminary meeting is where the applicant and other interested parties make representations to the Examining Authority on how the application should be examined (s.88 Planning Act 2008). This includes, but is not limited to, discussions on the dates set for submission of written representations and the need for issue-specific hearings. Note: the meeting is not for the discussion of the merits of the application itself.

It is for the Examining Authority to preside over the preliminary meeting and to decide which matters are to be discussed and how, as per The Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules 2010. See Advice Note 8.3 for further information.
Will preliminary meetings and examinations be held in Bristol or locally?Where practical, meetings and hearings should be held at a location as close as possible to the site of the proposed development. Venues are chosen against criteria which consider proximity to the development site, accessibility and size. It is the applicant's responsibility to find a suitable venue or venues for the preliminary meeting and examination hearings (to agree with the Planning Inspectorate) and fund its use.
I want to make my case on a proposed Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) development to the Planning Inspectorate, what do I need to do?If the application is in pre-application stage then you will need to contact the developer to get involved in 'shaping' the project. If an application has been accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate a relevant representation is the first point at which comments on an application can be sent to and considered by the Planning Inspectorate. To make this initial representation, as a member of the public, you will need to register as an interested party for a specific application. As a result you will be kept informed of progress and opportunities to get involved.

For further information on how to do this see Advice Note 8.2.
Can a member of the public be considered an Interested Party?Yes, any member of the public can register as an 'Interested Party' on any application. It is important to register at the time advertised, which can be done most easily using the electronic form made available on the Project page of the portal. The progress of an application can also be monitored there.
How can I register as an interested party?If you have an email address the best method of registering is online via our website. The online form is available on the relevant project page of the portal during the registration period. The form is easy to complete as it will take you through the questions and only ask those which are relevant to you. It will also check the form for you to make sure we have all the information we need and to prevent you from sending it off incomplete. If you don't have internet access, then you can request a paper copy of the form from our help desk on 0303 444 5000.

Any person who registers successfully will become an interested party and receive individual correspondence from us. If more than one person from a household, for example, wishes to speak at any subsequent hearing then each person needs to register separately.

Each person will have their own letter and unique identification number. We recommend you retain the letter for future reference.
How many copies of the relevant representation form can I request?We are only able to offer forms to you and other members of your household. If other people require their own forms they need to contact the helpline on 0303 444 5000 separately as they also need a registration number issued to them.
When can I register as an interested party?You can register as an interested party after the application has been accepted for examination and the applicant has published a notice of the accepted application. The deadline to submit relevant representations to become an interested party will never be less then 28 days following the date that the developer publishes their notice of an accepted application.

For further info on the content of this notice and who it must go to see section 56 (2) of the Planning Act 2008.
Will there be any difference in the importance of points made by people living in the vicinity of the proposed development and people living further away from the proposed development?The Examining Authority will determine how much weight is afforded to representations/evidence.
Will you accept representations that miss the deadline?To register as an interested party you must do so before the deadline is set. The acceptance of written representations from non-interested parties is at the discretion of the Examining Authority.
Do we have to register as an interested party if we are a Local Authority?For the purpose of section 102 (1) (c) of the Planning Act 2008 and as prescribed in the Schedule of The Infrastructure Planning (Interested Parties) Regulations 2010 a statutory party ('interested party') is any relevant local authority. Therefore any relevant local authority is automatically an 'interested party' regardless of registration.

Despite this we encourage any 'relevant local authority' to make such a relevant representation, to provide the Examining Authority with early views on the application and inform their assessment of principal issues for the examination.


For further info see the process page.
Can the Planning Inspectorate clarify the examination timetable?
The Examining Authority sets the timetable and what form the examination should take at or as soon as practicable after the preliminary meeting and will inform all interested parties accordingly.
Can I attend an examination hearing? Will I be able to speak?All hearings are held in public and anyone can attend.

Subject to the discretion of the Examining Authority, anyone who has registered to have their say has the opportunity to speak at hearings on the proposal. The main method of examining an application is by written representations, but issue specific hearings may be held if the Examining Authority considers it necessary having taken into account representations made by interested parties at the preliminary meeting. If any interested party asks for an open floor hearing then one must be held by the Examining Authority.
Can I speak at the hearing if I haven't registered myself as an interested party?It is at the discretion of the Examining Authority to allow an unregistered person to make an oral representation at a hearing.

See Rule 14(10) of the
Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules 2010
for further information.
What happens if I cannot attend a hearing?If you are unable to attend a hearing, you can be assured that your written representation will still be taken into account by the Examining Authority. However, you may send a representative in your place to the hearing either to hear what is said or to make representations on your behalf. The hearing will be held in public and the procedures ensure that the hearing itself will be conducted in a fair and open manner. Alternatively, you may want to contact community groups, environmental groups or other consultees who may be present at the hearing. They may be able to make the representations on your behalf, or may make the same points as you.
What teams of specialists do you have?The Planning Inspectorate employs a number of specialists in planning, law and environmental impact assessment. It is neither possible nor necessary to employ specialists for each issue likely to arise across the variety of nationally significant infrastructure projects. Inspectors will consider the full range of evidence put before them during examination, and if necessary can appoint an expert assessor to assist them.
Can requirements be imposed on a development consent order (DCO) to ensure that specified matters are complied with?Yes, requirements can be imposed in a DCO. Requirements are similar to conditions under existing consent regimes, specifying conditions and restrictions on the development and matters for which detailed approval needs to be obtained before the development can be lawfully begun, for example a detailed landscaping scheme.
What is a Local Impact Report? How can I contribute to this?Once the examination of an application has begun, the Planning Inspectorate invites the local authority (or authorities) concerned to provide it with a Local Impact Report (LIR) on the likely effects of the development on the local area. Interested Parties are notified of the time frame for commenting on the Local Impact Report in the examination timetable that is set out in the rule 8 (The Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules 2010) letter.


For further info see the process page.
What policy is used by the Planning Inspectorate to examine applications?The Planning Inspectorate must make recommendations in accordance with the Government’s National Policy Statements (NPS) except in specified circumstances including where the adverse impacts of a proposed development would outweigh its benefits (see s.104(4-8) of the Planning Act 2008 for further info). The NPSs undergo a democratic process of public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny, before being designated (i.e. adopted). Other policies may also be relevant and important matters which the Examining Authority will consider.

For more information see the page on National Policy Statements


For further info see the process page.
Who will make decisions?Decisions will ultimately be made by the Secretary of State after receiving the recommendation from the Examining Authority. The Secretary of State has three months in which to make a decision.
What are the consequences if the Secretary of State (SoS) does not accept a recommendation made by the Planning Inspectorate?The SoS makes the final decision so he/she doesn’t have to agree with the recommendation made by the Examining Authority. The recommendation report will be published along with the Secretary of State's decision and statement of reasons; so it will be possible to see why a recommendation has not been followed.

Post decision

For further info see the process page.
Who is responsible for enforcement once a Development Consent Order (DCO) has been granted?The relevant Local Planning Authority is responsible for enforcing the provisions and requirements set out in the DCO (see Part 8 of the Planning Act 2008). Any conditions on a deemed Coast Protection Act 1949 consent or Food and Environmental Protection Act 1989 licence (or Marine Licence) would though be enforced by the Marine Management Organisation.
Can I appeal against a decision of the Secretary of State?There is no right of appeal. Application can be made to the courts for judicial review - please see general guidance at, and take your own legal advice if you wish to pursue this further.