The revised draft National Policy Statements on Energy

Memorandum submitted by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (RNPS 01)


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:

The public consultation on the revised draft energy NPSs is open until 24 January 2011. Full details of the consultation are also available at:

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 Commission.

Full details of the changes to the draft energy NPSs can be found in the annex to the Government response to Parliament.

Reasons for new consultation

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 (i.e. the draft NPSs) and the accompanying environmental assessments (i.e. 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.

Changes to the draft 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: 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 non-renewable generation.

Parts 4 and 5: assessment principles and generic impacts

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".

Changes to the draft Fossil Fuel NPS (EN-2)

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.

Changes to the draft 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 them.

· 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 not adopted.

· 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.

Changes to the draft Gas Supply Infrastructure and Gas and Oil Pipelines NPS (EN-4)

EN-4 has been revised to ensure that it is clear and consistent with the overarching NPS EN-1. Further substantive changes include:

· 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 CO2.

· 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 natural gas).

· 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.

Changes to the draft Electricity Networks 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 AoS.

· 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.

Changes to the draft 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 sections:

· 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:

o 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

o 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.

Changes to the non-nuclear Appraisals of Sustainability and Habitats Regulations Assessment

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.

Changes to the nuclear Appraisal of Sustainability and Habitats Regulations Assessment

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 2009.

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 draft National Policy Statements

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 ( 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.

Abolition of the IPC

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 elected.

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.

November 2010