Growth and Infrastructure Bill

Memorandum submitted by The Crown Estate (GIB 67)

1. General Comments

· The Crown Estate welcomes the publication of this inquiry and is grateful for the opportunity to provide these comments in the context of our interests and land ownership set out in the introduction.

· We seek (and will engage with the Planning Inspectorate) further clarity on the types of schemes eligible for application directly to the Secretary of State (SoS) as previously these were Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) determined in accordance with National Policy Statements (NPS).

· Whilst the focus of our response is seeking clarification on preparedness of the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) for this potential scale up in projects of national significance, we would welcome further discussions on the prioritisation of the delivery of renewable energy obligations and the significant increase in infrastructure that will be needed.

· We also welcome provisions to enable the SoS to give direction in relation to projects of national significance associated with energy (clause 21) and to vary consents under the Electricity Act 1989 (clauses 17 & 18).

· We would encourage detailed dialogue to take place between PINS (in respect of this Bill and projects that occur in England and Wales) with Scottish Ministers (and associated consenting teams) in order for developers to deal with a consistent approach in their applications across the whole of the UK.

2. Introduction

The Crown Estate welcomes the publication of this inquiry and is grateful for the opportunity to provide these comments. The statements contained in this response are in the context of The Crown Estate’s interests and ownership of almost the entire seabed out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit and rights out to the continental shelf. We are committed to working with government departments, stakeholders and industry in helping to manage the coastal and marine environment.

The Crown Estate can bring to bear a high level of knowledge and expertise on issues relating to management of the foreshore, the territorial seabed and continental shelf, as well as through our extensive property ownership on land and we are committed to working with the UK and Devolved Governments and all stakeholders on issues which affect these areas.

In addition to our ownership of around half of the foreshore and beds of estuaries and tidal rivers in the United Kingdom and virtually the entire UK seabed out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit, we have the sovereign rights to explore and make use of the natural resources of the UK continental shelf, with the exception of oil, coal and gas. Under the Energy Act 2004 we have rights to issue leases for development beyond the territorial limit within the Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) and the Energy Act 2008 gives us the rights to sub-surface storage within the Gas Importation and Storage Zone (GISZ).

Our expertise includes marine resource management of the activities within our Energy and Infrastructure portfolio including offshore wind; wave and tidal; natural gas storage; carbon dioxide transportation and storage; marine minerals; cables and pipelines; and marine biomass and their interplay with other marine activities such as defence, oil and gas, navigation and marine safety. We have a strong understanding of the needs of a broad range of coastal and sea users, as commercial partners, customers and stakeholders.

Having reviewed the Bill, please see below for some specific comments related to the questions asked which we hope will be of consideration to the Public Bill Committee inquiry: -

3. Option to make planning applications directly to the Secretary of State

· As outlined in Part 1 (clause 8) of the Bill, we would welcome further clarity on the types of infrastructure scheme that will be eligible to be submitted directly to the SoS. Previous to this Bill, projects classed as NSIPs with associated NPSs were eligible to be assessed by PINS (and decided on by the SoS) therefore without clarification it is difficult to get an understanding of the quantity of new schemes that would be likely to follow this process.

· We would also seek further detail on the prioritisation of NSIPs with associated NPS against individually selected projects that are ‘promoted’ to SoS. We would welcome visibility of a planned programme of all infrastructure projects submitted through PINS with clear timescales for review and sign off:

o As part of this, it will be important for PINS to ensure they consider the NPSs for NSIPs and any associated policies with other infrastructure projects submitted in order to prioritise appropriately. The Crown Estate would welcome recognition of the important NSIPs associated with low carbon development.

· The Crown Estate recognises that an increase in projects submitted to PINS, and for sign off by the SoS, will also need to be resourced accordingly in order to ensure there are no delays in the consenting process of these projects. We would welcome discussions with PINS on how the additional caseload associated with an increase in application numbers is proposed to be resourced.

4. Other

· We welcome the pragmatic revisions made in clause 12 and 13 in relation to town and village greens.

· We also welcome provisions to enable the SoS  to give direction in relation to projects of national significance associated with energy (clause 21) and to vary consents under the Electricity Act 1989 (clauses 17 & 18).

· We would encourage detailed dialogue to occur between PINS (in respect of this Bill and projects that occur in England and Wales) with Scottish Ministers (and associated consenting teams) in order for developers to deal with a consistent approach in their applications across the whole of the UK.

5. Conclusion

We trust that you will find these comments constructive. We would be very willing to provide additional information on any of the points we have raised above and be very pleased to discuss these matters with you further. Through the Energy & Infrastructure’s Policy, Planning and Consenting team, we are ready to engage in further discussions on these and other points relevant to our ownership or which our expertise may be brought to bear. All of this response may be put into the public domain and there is no part of it that should be treated as confidential.

December 2012

Background Information on The Crown Estate

The diverse portfolio of The Crown Estate comprises marine, rural and urban properties across the whole of the United Kingdom valued in total at £7.6 billion (2012 figures). Under the 1961 Crown Estate Act, The Crown Estate is charged with maintaining and enhancing both the value of the property and the revenue from it consistent with the requirements of good management. We are a commercial organisation guided by our core values of commercialism, integrity and stewardship.

The Crown Estate’s entire revenue surplus is paid directly to HM Treasury for the benefit of UK citizens; in 2012 this amounted to just over £240 million.

Our ownership comprises virtually the entire UK seabed out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit, in addition to the sovereign rights to explore and make use of the natural resources of the UK continental shelf, with the exception of oil, coal and gas. We own over half of the foreshore and around half the beds of estuaries and tidal rivers in the United Kingdom. A wide variety of businesses and organisations conduct economic and conservation activities across the seabed, with an estimated total value of some £587 million providing almost 890,000 jobs.

The Crown Estate manages its marine assets on a commercial basis, guided by the principles of sustainable development and social responsibility. We take a consistent approach to the management of our activities around the UK, whilst retaining flexibility to take local factors into account whenever necessary. The Crown Estate can bring to bear an unparalleled level of knowledge and expertise on issues relating to management of the foreshore, the territorial seabed and continental shelf. We have a strong understanding of the needs of a broad range of sea users, as commercial partners, customers and stakeholders.

Prepared 10th December 2012