The Sizewell C Project
Email 1: With the Developer’s Stage 2 Pre-Application Consultation drawing to a close I have a general question around the status of the current National Policy Statements for Energy, in particular the Policy Statement for Nuclear Power Generation EN6.
I have been informed that the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy are or are just about to review these statements. Is this correct?
If so what will the situation be if the Policy Statements are revised post consultation but prior to submission of the DCO application? Will there have to be a further consultation phase to accommodate any change in policy between the two versions?
Email 2: Many thanks for your response and time. I will take up your suggestion of contacting BEIS to see if the NPS are being reviewed and will copy the response on for your information.
Your response was fairly comprehensive but unfortunately doesn’t appear to have covered the main and final aspect I posed, that being if the National Policy Statements were to change in terms of requirements during the consultation stage of a project or more critical between the final public consultation and the submission of an DCO application would the Planning Inspector expect or request the applicant to openly re-consult on the basis of any revised policy?
Email 3: I am very gratefully for both of your informative responses which nicely closes this uncertainty I had.
As you suggested I have also enquired of BEIS and they have confirmed that there are no immediate plans to review the policies. I attach their response for your information.
Just so you are aware my original concern arose from some comments made by two officers from a significant non-departmental public body at a meeting with a statutory consultee for the project that I attend.
Response 1: Thank you for your email in relation to the Nuclear National Policy Statement (NPS).
Whilst NPSs provide the framework within which Inspectors make their recommendations to the Secretary of State, the Planning Inspectorate is impartial and is not able to comment on Government policy. I would therefore advise you to contact the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy as the government department responsible for that policy area: attachment 1
All NPSs, or material amendments to NPSs, are subject to public consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny before being designated (i.e. published) and the Secretary of State must have regard to the outcome of public consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny when deciding whether or not to proceed to designate the NPS.
The Secretary of State must also have regard to any matter that the Secretary of State thinks is important and relevant to the Secretary of State’s decision. This could include a draft NPS if one exists and if the relevant NPS has not yet been formally designated.
Thank you for your email and apologies for not getting back to you sooner.
If the Secretary of State (SoS) decides to review the NPS under s6 of the 2008 Planning Act (as amended) (PA2008), the SoS may suspend an examination under s108 until the review process has been completed. The review process does not impact on applications that have yet to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate nor does it apply to examinations that have already closed.
When deciding whether to grant an applicant a DCO, the SoS has to have regard to the relevant NPS(s). If a new NPS is published after the applicant’s statutory consultation has ended but before the submission has been submitted, it is for the applicant to seek its own legal advice whether further consultation is needed to comply with the revised NPS.
We have recently set up a mailbox for Sizewell C ([email protected]) which is monitored by the team in my absence and is copied into this response for your information.
Should you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
Response 3: Many thanks for your email and for attaching the response from BEIS, a copy has been placed on our records for information.