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First NSIP opens and other project news

Angus Walker picture-13This entry reports on the first nationally significant infrastructure project to open for business, amongst other news.

Ipswich chord

The Ipswich chord, which will allow freight trains to travel from Felixstowe to the rest of the country more easily, opened for business either today or on Saturday according to different reports.

This is the first nationally significant infrastructure project involving construction to become operational, and was built pretty darn fast, having been given consent as recently as 5 September 2012.

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I say the first involving construction, because the East Northamptonshire waste facility arguably became operational earlier, but was simply a consent to accept more waste and didn't need any physical development.

Whitemoss landfill

On the subject of waste projects, the Whitemoss landfill project in Lancashire has leapt into second place for the number of representatations made about it: 3297. This is more than the next two - the Atlantic Array wind farm and the Thames Tideway Tunnel - combined. It is a long way behind the project in pole position, though, the now withdrawn Brig y Cwm energy from waste project, which had a whopping 9859 representations. Of the six projects to attract more than 1000 representations, four of them have been waste-related, which is probably not a coincidence.

Hinkley Point C

The judicial review of the grant of development consent for this project continues. Last week, Lord Justice Sullivan decided to grant permission for An Taisce to appeal to the Court of Appeal, and this will probably not be heard until July. If the judgment is reserved until September then it will have taken longer undergoing judicial review than from application to decision.

North Killingholme power station

Just as its preliminary meeting was the day before that of the Thames Tideway Tunnel's, the examination into the North Killingholme power station on Humberside finished a day before the TTT, on 11 March.

In another TTT echo, the project was subjected to an application to extend the examination, although rather than coming from the applicant, it came from offshore wind farm NSIP promoter SMart Wind. The application was refused, as has every other one been, but there was an interesting sting in the tail of the refusal letter. This has given some time for the promoters C.Gen to try to agree protective provisions with SMart Wind after the end of the examination. The inspectors will not be involved, though, but the government will take the results into account during the decision phase.

Two more examinations have finished this month: the Clocaenog Forest onshore wind farm and the Burbo Bank offshore wind farm extension. The latter was the first where no local authority submitted a Local Impact Report.

Thames Tideway Tunnel

Tomorrow sees the start of the first open space inquiry related to an NSIP, for the Thames Tideway Tunnel. This is separate to the main application and is being considered by a single inspector, Wendy McKay, who was one of the panel for the East Anglia One offshore windfarm application. The inquiry has its own website here.

The parallel inquiry is due to sections of the Planning Act where if open space land is being acquired and not replaced, this triggers special parliamentary procedure (SPP) unless the promoters can successfully argue that their project is particularly urgent and/or the open space would be prohibitively expensive to replace.

Able Marine Energy Park

On the subject of SPP, the AMEP project will be considered in Parliament on Wednesday, where arguments will be heard about whether the two petitions made against it by ABP are proper to be considered further.

Norton Bridge

Finally, the seventeenth application has just been decided, and it's a yes for the Norton Bridge railway improvements at Stafford - for the details see here.

I will just subtly drop in that that's the fifth positive decision where BDB were acting for the promoter, maintaining our 100% success rate of no rejections, refusals or withdrawals. There, you hardly noticed that blatant bit of marketing.

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