Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), as the name suggests, are major projects of national importance in the following sectors:

  • energy;
  • transport;
  • water;
  • waste water; and
  • waste

The NSIP consenting process was introduced by the Planning Act 2008, however, against the background of a significant increase in the time it takes for projects to make their way through that process (a 65% increase over the period 2012-2021), on 23 February 2023 the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities published its action plan to reform the NSIP consenting process.

The action plan identifies eighteen actions, number 4 of which will be of particular interest to those involved in bringing forward projects of this nature and scale.  Action 4 is to establish a new ‘fast-track’ consenting timeframe option for projects that meet quality standards.  The action plan also commits the UK Government to consulting in the coming months on:

  • Ways of streamlining the NSIP application process and improving the support available to applicants, including:

- streamlining the process for engaging with statutory consultees;

- improving the quality of applications to permit key issues to be identified earlier;

- reviewing the Examination Procedure Rules to enable a shorter examination process, particularly for less complicated NSIPs; and

- speeding up the implementation of a Development Consent Order after consent is awarded.

  • The new fast track consenting timeframe, and the quality standards that NSIPs will be required to meet to be eligible for fast tracking.
  • Proposals to move towards full proportionate cost recovery.

The action plan invites those who would like to attend events to discuss these reforms and participate in the planned consultations to forward relevant contact information to: