Memorandum submitted by the Department
of Energy and Climate Change |
Charles Hendry, Minister for State for Energy, is
scheduled to appear before the Energy and Climate Change Select
Committee on 30 November 2010 to discuss the revised draft energy
National Policy Statements (NPSs).
We would like to thank the Committee for its scrutiny
to date on the draft energy NPSs. The Government laid the revised
draft NPSs before Parliament for scrutiny, and published them
for public consultation, on 18 October 2010. On the same date
it also published its response to the ECC Select Committee recommendations
and public consultation in respect of the draft NPSs published
and laid before Parliament in November 2009. Copies of the revised
draft NPSs, the Government response to Parliament and response
to public consultation have been placed in the House library and
are available at: www.energynpsconsultation.decc.gov.uk.
The public consultation on the revised draft energy
NPSs is open until 24 January 2011. Full details of the consultation
are also available at: www.energynpsconsultation.decc.gov.uk.
This note sets out:
- reasons for the new consultation;
- key changes to the draft energy NPSs;
- key changes to the Appraisals of Sustainability
and Habitat Regulations Assessments; and
- details on the current consultation, ratification
of the energy NPSs and abolition on the Infrastructure Planning
Full details of the changes to the draft energy NPSs
can be found in the annex to the Government response to Parliament.
Following comments from the ECC select committee
and respondents to the November 2009 to February 2010 consultation,
we have substantially revised the Appraisals of Sustainability
(AoSs) for the non-nuclear energy NPSs.
The changes to the AoSs in turn led to some changes
to the NPSs themselves and in any event, since the SEA Directive
requires consultation on both draft plans (ie the draft NPSs)
and the accompanying environmental assessments (ie the AoSs) it
is appropriate to consult in parallel on the revised draft NPSs
and the revised AoSs, particularly where (as in this case) there
have been significant changes to the AoSs which may affect consultees'
views of the revised draft NPSs. Consideration of the consultation
responses also led to changes being made to the NPSs, particularly
the nuclear NPS.
OVERARCHING NPS (EN-1)
Part 3: energy need statement
We have revised the energy need section of EN-1 in
the light of further analytical data, as described below. However,
the conclusions remain the same. The Government believes there
is an urgent need for a diverse range of new nationally significant
energy infrastructure. The UK faces a major challenge in moving
to a low carbon economy and industry needs to be able to deliver
significant amounts of new energy infrastructure over the coming
decades and beyond to 2050.
New electricity infrastructure is needed as replacements
for closing power stations, to respond to the move to low carbon
forms of generation (including renewables, nuclear and fossil
fuels with CCS), and to ensure security of supply. New electricity
networks are also needed as well as new oil and gas infrastructure
to maintain security of energy supply.
We have strengthened the energy need statement in
response to respondents' suggestions to look further ahead than
2025. Analysis presented in the revised energy need chapter shows
that by 2050 we might need to triple generation capacity by comparison
with today in order to meet our legal obligations to reduce the
UK's greenhouse gas emissions by 80% (from 1990 levels) by 2050.
For this we have referenced the 2050 Pathways Analysis which focuses
on "successful" pathways that achieve an 80% reduction
in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, while ensuring that energy
supply meets demand.
We also considered different scenarios, using the
latest modelling, that attempt to assess what the UK's future
energy needs may be. The Updated Energy and Emissions Projections
(published in June 2010 as the UEP40 and available at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/projections/projections.aspx)
illustrates the likely impact of different fossil fuel and carbon
prices on the need for new electricity generating capacity required
by 2025. In the nearer term, the Government considers it prudent
to plan on the basis of scenarios projecting the greatest potential
need for new generation capacity (about 59GW of new build by 2025
- although this projection is not definitive and may underestimate
future demand for electricity as the UK moves to decarbonise),
of which just over half would be renewables and the remainder
Parts 4 and 5: assessment principles and generic
We have also made substantive revisions to take account
of the consultation responses and recommendations from the ECC
Select Committee and House of Lords Grand Committee on:
- Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Carbon
Capture Readiness (CCR). Sections (paragraphs
3.6.4 to 3.6.6 and Section 4.7) have been revised to clarify that
CCR applies to all combustion power stations of 300 MW capacity.
Following a number of comments, including those of ECC Select
Committee and the House of Lords Grand Committee, we have added
more details in paragraphs 4.7.11 to 4.7.15 on how developers
could assess the economic and technical feasibility of CCS to
ensure that a proposed new thermal combustion power station would
meet requirements for it to be CCR. However, we have retained
the clear direction that both developers and the IPC should refer
to DECC guidelines for more information on such assessments. To
assist the IPC, we state that it should consult the Environment
Agency on technical and economic feasibility.
- Emissions Performance Standard (EPS).
The Government has stated it will establish an EPS that will prevent
coal-fired power stations being built unless they are equipped
with sufficient CCS to meet the EPS. We will hold a consultation
in the autumn to consider further the introduction of an EPS alongside
wider reform of the electricity market. EN-1 notes (paragraph
4.7.5) that operators of new coal-fired power stations would have
to comply with any requirements of EPS regulation.
- Cooling towers and exhaust stacks for thermal
generating stations. In revising the draft
energy NPSs, we have sought to simplify them as much as possible
and to avoid repeating information which appears in EN-1 in the
technology-specific NPSs. We have therefore transferred the detailed
information on cooling towers and exhaust stacks that appeared
in the first consultation drafts of EN-2 and EN-3 to the air emissions
and landscape sections (5.2 and 5.9) of EN-1 and deleted it from
EN-2, EN-3 and EN-6.
- Historic environment.
Section 5.8 of EN-1 has been extensively revised, in consultation
with English Heritage, to reflect the policies set out in the
new Planning Policy Statement PPS5 on "Heritage Assets".
EN-2 has been revised to ensure that it is clear
and consistent with the overarching NPS EN-1. Substantive changes
have been made on:
- Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Carbon
Capture Readiness (CCR). We have revised
paragraphs 2.3.6 to 2.3.11 to reflect changes in EN-1 on the need
for operators of coal-fired generating stations to comply with
any requirements for Emission Performance Standards and removed
the text on policy (paragraphs 2.3.7 and 2.3.8 in the November
2009 draft) that merely repeated the text in EN-1.
- Transport infrastructure.
This section (2.2.5) has been revised following responses to consultation
to clarify that transport for fuel and residues may be multi-modal
but there is a preference for water-borne transport where available.
It also clarifies that sites should be located near existing transport
infrastructure where possible.
RENEWABLES NPS (EN-3)
Revisions have been made regarding:
- Other renewable technologies.
Paragraph 1.7.2 on the infrastructure covered by EN-3 has been
substantially revised to explain that some renewable energy technologies
are not covered by the NPS because they are not yet commercially
viable. It also notes that when such technologies do become viable,
the Government will either revise EN-3 or draft new NPSs to cover
- Biomass sustainability.
The section on fuels for renewable energy combustion plants (paragraphs
2.5.5 to 2.5.8) has been revised to take account of the latest
position on Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs) for biomass
sustainability. It notes that there is no need for the IPC to
consider sustainability of biomass fuel as part of the consents
process, because sustainability is to be managed under the RO
by Ofgem. We may, however, need to further revise this section
if the proposed policy on ROCs (on which a public consultation
recently closed, but which has not yet been legislated for), is
- Green Belts in relation to Offshore Wind.
New text has been substituted for the original (generic) text
to explain the circumstances in which Green Belt provisions might
be applicable when considering offshore applications.
- Noise and vibration and water quality impacts
for biomass / waste. Additional information
on these impacts has been added to the section on biomass/energy
from waste generating stations to reflect recommendations from
the revised AoS on EN-3.
EN-4 has been revised to ensure that it is clear
and consistent with the overarching NPS EN-1. Further substantive
- CO2 pipelines.
We have clarified that EN-4 (section 1.7) is only intended to
cover pipelines carrying natural gas or oil and does not cover
- Hazardous substances.
The NPS has been revised (at section 2.4) to include references
to regulatory controls which ensure the safe shipping of LNG (liquefied
- Geological assessment for salt cavern storage.
The NPS has been revised to include more information about what
this assessment should contain (section 2.6).
- Assessment and technology-specific information.
Various revisions have been made to the guidance on impacts in
EN-4. The specification for assessing the noise impact of a pipeline
within a 300m corridor has been changed. There is a new section
(2.17) relating to the impact on gas emissions due to the flaring
or venting of gas.
INFRASTRUCTURE NPS (EN-5)
We have revised EN-5 sections on:
- Biodiversity. We have
included a new section (2.7) on bird strike under the Biodiversity
heading following a suggestion made during the revision of the
- Undergrounding. We
have also made changes to the wording of the section on undergrounding
(section 2.8) to make it clearer that all applications need to
be assessed on a case by case basis taking into account all
the relevant factors, including visual impact, cost, technical
viability and environmental and archaeological consequences.
NUCLEAR NPS (EN-6)
EN-6 has been streamlined to clarify the policy that
the IPC should consider when determining an application for new
nuclear development and to reduce repetition with EN-1; and two
sites previously listed as potentially suitable locations for
the deployment of new nuclear power stations by 2025 are no longer
in the revised draft. In particular, we have amended the following
- The need for new nuclear power stations.
The text explaining the need for new nuclear power stations has
been moved to EN-1 to bring the revised draft Nuclear NPS into
line with the other technology specific NPSs.
- Management and disposal of waste.
Information setting out the Government's conclusions on the management
and disposal of waste from new nuclear power stations has been
moved to Annex B so that the main body of the NPS highlights how
the IPC should consider any issues regarding waste during its
examination of an application.
- Site assessments.
We had originally included all of the detailed site assessments
in part 5 of EN-6. This has now been moved (for the sites listed)
to Annex C of the revised draft, which is in the second volume
of the revised draft EN-6. The text has also been updated in light
of the consultation responses. The reasons why any assessed sites
are not considered potentially suitable can be found in the Government
Response to Consultation.
- Sites. The revised
EN-6 lists eight sites that the Government considers to be potentially
suitable for the deployment of new nuclear power stations before
the end of 2025. Three sites have been confirmed as unsuitable:
- Dungeness has again
not been put on the draft list of potentially suitable sites due
to impacts on the integrity of the Dungeness Special Area of Conservation
which the Government considers it would not be possible to mitigate.
There are alternative sites available (the other eight) which
would appear to better protect the integrity of the network of
European sites; and
- Braystones and Kirksanton
in Cumbria, have been found unsuitable due to concerns over the
potential visual impacts of development on the nearby Lake District
National Park, and concerns over the credibility of deploying
these sites by 2025.
Appraisals of Sustainability
The draft energy NPSs reflect established energy
policy and the way in which energy infrastructure development
consenting policy flows from it. The original AoS compared the
effect of implementing these established policies within the framework
of an NPS (with differing degrees of detail) against a business
as usual scenario without an NPS.
Following comments that the section of the original
AoSs dealing with "reasonable alternatives" to the "plan
or programme" contained in the draft NPSs EN-1 to EN-5 did
not fulfil the requirements of the SEA Directive as regards the
consideration of alternatives, a wider range of alternatives has
now been considered. As a result, it is now possible for consultees
to compare an analysis of the likely significant effects (both
positive and negative) of the revised draft NPS policies across
a range of environmental, social and economic factors. This includes
the likely significant effects which would be likely to result
if various different policy choices were to be made at the strategic
level as to how to fulfil, through the development consenting
process, the relevant overall goals of energy policy (i.e. to
maintain safe, secure and affordable energy supplies while moving
to a low carbon economy and reducing carbon emissions by 80% by
2050). Examples of the alternatives considered include (at the
overarching, EN-1 level) placing an overall greater emphasis on
reducing greenhouse gas emissions or other environmental impacts
of new energy infrastructure and (at the technology-specific level),
adopting a different approach to the "undergrounding"
of electricity transmission and distribution lines.
The appraisal of these alternatives considers the
possible advantages and disadvantages of different policies that
could be adopted in the NPSs to fulfil the overall plan objective,
which lies behind the various individual policies. It is not an
examination of a range of different energy and climate change
policies, but looks at the question of whether the balance between
the various elements of the overall objective is the right one.
With the previous draft NPSs an assessment of the
effect of the implementation of the NPS policies was done by comparing
the outcomes with and without the NPSs in place. For the revised
NPSs the comparative assessment has been carried out against the
baseline of the environment as it is now.
Habitats Regulations Assessment
The Habitats Regulations Assessment of the non nuclear
NPSs has been updated to take account of the relevant alternatives
generated during the redrafting of the AoS.
The case for Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public
Interest has been updated to reflect changes on the revised need
case for EN-1.
The Government has also clarified the case for Imperative
Reasons of Overriding Public Interest for the plan (the NPSs);
that it is not directly transferable to individual projects; and
that the non-nuclear NPSs do not in any way reduce the duty on
the IPC to fulfil the legal requirements of the Habitats Directive.
Appraisal of Sustainability
The Appraisal of Sustainability of EN-6 has been
revised to take account of the removal of Braystones and Kirksanton
as potentially suitable sites. The assessment of interaction and
cumulative effects of sites (chapter 7) has been updated to reflect
that there are now two sites (Heysham and Sellafield) in the north
west instead of four.
For clarity, the conclusion of no significant transboundary
effects has been consolidated into one section in Chapter 7. It
was previously set out in several different appendices.
Habitats Regulations Assessment
The Habitats Regulations Assessment of EN-6 has been
updated to take account of the removal of Braystones and Kirksanton
as potentially suitable sites and the assessment of interaction
and cumulative effects has been updated accordingly. The assessment
also takes account of a number of new European protected sites
which have been designated since the consultation in November
The case for Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public
Interest has been updated to reflect changes to the revised need
case EN-1 and changes on sites which are considered potentially
suitable. The Government has also clarified that the case for
Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest is for the plan
(i.e. EN-6), and is not directly transferable to individual projects
and that EN-6 does not in any way reduce the duty on the IPC to
fulfil the legal requirements of the Habitats Directive.
The consultation on the revised energy NPSs opened
on 18 October 2010. Responses can be submitted via email, post,
fax or the NPS consultation website (www.energynpsconsultation.decc.gov.uk)
until 24 January 2011. Full details of how to respond can be found
in the NPS consultation document available from the website.
Three national events are scheduled on the revised
draft energy NPSs at:
- Bristol on Monday 29 November;
- Manchester on Tuesday 30 November; and
- London on Thursday 2 December.
These events are intended to inform people of the
reason for the consultation, explain the main changes to the NPSs,
hear people's views on these and to encourage them to respond
to the consultation.
Due to the extensive programme of site of events
run for the November 2009 to February 2010 consultation and the
limited changes to the site assessments we are not organising
individual site events for this consultation. However, we have
offered to attend local events organised by local authorities
or interest groups to discuss the revised draft Nuclear NPS and
the relevant site assessment.
The Government has stated that the decision-making
framework for major infrastructure should have the strongest possible
democratic legitimacy and that NPSs will be ratified by Parliament.
Although a legislative requirement to ratify NPSs will be proposed
in the Localism Bill, we do not expect this to be in force in
time for the Energy NPSs. We have made a commitment to put in
place a process for the ratification of the energy NPSs that is
based, as closely as possible, on the statutory framework.
We intend to bring forward the energy NPSs for ratification
in spring 2011.
The Minister for Decentralisation, the Rt Hon Greg
Clark MP, announced in June that, in accordance with the Coalition
Agreement, we intend to abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission
(IPC) and move its expertise into a new Major Infrastructure Planning
Unit (MIPU) that will be part of the Planning Inspectorate (PINS).
Legislation to enable this will be introduced in the Localism
Bill, which is planned to be introduced into Parliament in this
Session. The actual timing for abolition of the IPC will be determined
by this primary legislation which it is proposed should enact
its abolition and replacement.
We intend to retain the IPC's fast-track application
and examination processes, but major infrastructure projects will
be decided by Ministers on the basis of recommendations by MIPU.
The statutory timetable for decision-taking will be no longer
than under the current regime.
A more detailed Work Plan for Major Infrastructure
Planning, including further details about decision making arrangements,
will be published by the Department for Communities and Local
Government before the end of the year.
Final decisions have not been made on the future
structure of MIPU within PINS. CLG officials are in close contact
with the leadership teams of both PINS and IPC to identify the
most efficient structure necessary to deliver an effective and
integrated PINS covering both of their portfolios.
National Policy Statements will continue to be the
primary basis for decisions on major infrastructure development
consent applications. Consents for major infrastructure projects
will be decided by Ministers on the basis of recommendations by
MIPU, ensuring that decisions are made by those who are democratically
There will be transitional arrangements to ensure
that any projects being considered by the IPC at the time of the
changes are not delayed. Any applications in the system will transfer
seamlessly from the IPC to MIPU. A large number of projects currently
listed on the IPC website are for energy infrastructure and we
recognise the importance of these projects. We will be working
closely with energy developers to ensure they are aware of changes
to the planning system and to facilitate a smooth transition of
projects so as to avoid delay.