The government releases final version of its Energy National Policy Statements today in order for them to be debated in the Houses of Parliament, and nuclear power is back on the agenda.
The release follows a wide-ranging public consultation conducted earlier this year, which received over 2,500 responses from members of the public. The Energy National Policy Statements (NPSs) provide a clear framework for decision making and set out the need for a surge of investment in new energy sources, including 33GW of new renewable energy capacity. The Nuclear NPS lists eight sites in the UK as suitable for new nuclear builds by 2025.
Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark said: “Major infrastructure projects provide a real growth opportunity for this country, billions of pounds of investment and they create the bedrock businesses need to thrive in the 21st century.”
He added: “These policy statements are an important step in ensuring planning decisions can be made without delay and will boost the reforms the Government is making to the planning system to strip away bureaucracy, give more powers to communities and ensure faster decisions are taken.”
Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy said: “Around a quarter of the UK’s generating capacity is due to close by the end of this decade. We need to replace this with secure, low carbon, affordable energy. This will require over £100billion worth of investment in electricity generation alone.”
“[The NPS] plans set out our energy need to help guide the planning process, so that if acceptable proposals come forward in appropriate places, they will not face unnecessary hold-ups. The Coalition Government is determined to make the UK a truly attractive market for investors, to give us secure, affordable, low-carbon energy.”
Rhian Kelly, CBI director for business environment, said:“Time is running out to achieve a secure, low-carbon and cost effective energy mix, so it is good news that the Government has heeded our calls to publish the National Policy Statements on energy.
“These statements make clear the scale of the challenge. To provide investor confidence, what we now need is Parliament’s approval before the summer recess so the energy sector can get on with what needs doing.”
The Government’s final proposed Energy NPSs will be debated in Parliament. The date of the debate is subject to confirmation from Parliamentary authorities.
Alongside the NPSs, DECC today published independent research into how noise from wind turbines is assessed in the planning process. In response to the findings, DECC is in discussions with the Institute of Acoustics to establish a working group to develop best practice guidance for planners, developers and local communities.