A blog about planning, planning law and planning policy

Disclaimer

The information on this blog is not intended to be advice, legal or otherwise. You should not rely on it and I do not accept liability in connection with it. If you do have a planning law question on which you would like advice, seek legal advice from a suitably qualified solicitor. Specific advice should be sought for specific problems.

First ever IPC decision issued

Commissioner Paul Hudson of the IPC

The IPC issued its decision on Rookery South last week, two days ahead of the deadline. This is the very first project to go to the IPC. It is for a 65MW energy from waste plant at Stewartby, Bedfordshire.  I had the privilege of representing the host local authorities, Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council.  The host authorities have a special position as they have the right to submit a Local Impact Report in addition to their normal evidence.  They are also likely to be the best resourced consultee (or even objector) in the process.  We used this position to submit representations and participate actively in the hearings and open floor sessions.  The host authorities also have the opportunity to influence the content and wording of the development consent order (effectively the planning permission) and the requirements (which is the name for conditions in the new regime).  They can also seek to negotiate a s.106 obligation. 

The procedure and process are new, and they hold some surprises.  There are fifteen different sets of regulations and one statute – the Planning Act 2008, itself being amended by the Localism Bill.  Policy is found in the new National Policy Statements.  Good and timely preparation is important.  There are few limits on who can participate and there were about 1,000 relevant representations.  In another project – Brig-y-Cwm in Wales, there were 10,000.

I hope that Rookery South, as the first project, will have set the standard for others to follow.  There was a panel of three commissioners, led by Paul Hudson, who has had a distinguished career.  They were hardly going to be late with the first ever project but I do not think that was an easy task for them. I would congratulate them and the IPC as a whole on getting the decision out within the time limits.

The report runs to almost 200 pages. You can find it here.

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