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Nationally significant infrastructure projects

There are currently three proposed and one consented nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIP) in or partly in South Gloucestershire.

Such applications are submitted to and examined by the planning inspectorate and decided by the secretary of state. South Gloucestershire Council does not decide these applications but is consulted on the proposals. The planning inspectorate holds the planning files and lists projects proposed in the South West of England.

The planning inspectorate has produced Advice Note 8, which provides guidance on the NSIP process and explains how people can get involved.

Once consented, local councils take on the responsibility for discharging ‘requirements’ attached to any consent order.  These are similar in nature to ‘planning conditions’ that may be attached to planning permissions granted by the council. The council is also the enforcement body.  Further details of the council’s role in respect of nationally significant infrastructure projects are set out in the Planning Inspectorate’s ‘Advice Note 2’

The proposed projects that are located in South Gloucestershire currently registered with the planning inspectorate are listed below.  In addition, the council may be consulted on other projects outside the council boundary that might have effects in South Gloucestershire, including for example proposals for renewable energy generation in the Severn Estuary.

In order to ensure that an efficient and project managed approach is taken to these projects and that the council has the appropriate resources in place for these large projects, the council seeks to ensure that a planning performance agreement (PPA) is in place at the outset of any pre-application engagement with the project promoter. The PPA set out the working arrangements of the parties and ensures an efficient and project managed approach to the work required. It also ensures that resources are provided by the project promoter to cover for the additional work that is needed to be carried out by us in assessing and advising on matters such as the design and development of the project proposals. The signing of a PPA does not in any way bind us, our councillors or officers to any future decisions or recommendations, and the documents include specific commitments that we will at all times act independently and impartially, and in accordance with our statutory duties.

Hinkley Point C connection project

Promoted by National Grid, this project was consented by the Secretary of State on 19 January 2016. The Hinkley C Connection Project will provide a new high voltage grid connection to the proposed new build nuclear power station at Hinkley in Somerset.  While the main works are in other local authority areas, this scheme includes a new pylon line running through the Enterprise Area at Severnside linking to the existing Seabank Power station. A relatively short stretch of this line will fall within South Gloucestershire. Further information on this project and its construction may be found on National Grid’s Hinkley Connections website.

The Secretary of State’s decision letter and decision documentation can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website.

South Gloucestershire Council’s role was a consultee on this project. Working with the other affected councils and National Grid throughout the pre-application and examination stages of the project, to seek to ensure that impacts of the project on the communities, businesses and environment of South Gloucestershire and the wider Severnside enterprise area are minimised. The council now has a role in discharging requirements that are relevant to South Gloucestershire and are attached to the Development Consent Order.  Discharge of Requirement applications made by National Grid to South Gloucestershire Council, and decisions on these may be found on the council’s ‘Search planning applications’ web page.

Seabank 3 proposed gas fired power station

The power company SSE is proposing to construct a new gas fired power station adjacent to the existing Seabank power station and the new energy from waste plant that is under construction at Severnside. Seabank 3 is proposed to comprise two additional high efficiency combined cycle gas turbines (CCGT) with a combined capacity of up to 1,400MW.  It is envisaged that these new units would run in parallel with the existing power station to give a combined total output of up to 2,500MW.

In common with other NSIP, the council is consultee to the process and an application for a development consent order would be examined by the Planning Inspectorate and determined by the secretary of state.

As for the Hinkley C connections project, we signed up to a PPA with SSE.

Stage 1 consultation was held in mid-2013 and Stage 2 in mid-2014. We currently do not have any information about the future project timetable.

For further information on the project or the PPA, please see SSE’s project web site.

Oldbury proposed new nuclear power station

Horizon Nuclear Power proposes to build a new nuclear power station on land adjacent to the existing nuclear power station near Oldbury, which could generate a minimum of 2,700MW of low carbon electricity. However Wylfa on Anglesey is Horizon’s lead site, and their proposals for Oldbury would follow on from this. Horizon advise that plans for Oldbury are at an early stage of development. Further information may be found at Horizon Nuclear Power’s web site.

Now under the ownership of Japanese electronics group Hitachi, Horizon says that its plans for a new nuclear reactor at Oldbury is likely to create up to 1,000 new permanent jobs locally and between 5,000 to 6,000 construction jobs.

The reactor design proposed for use in a new nuclear power station at Oldbury gained approval of the nuclear regulators on 14 December 2017. Details of the announcement from the ONR, Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales and the process by which the UK-ABWR has been assessed can be found at http://www.onr.org.uk/new-reactors/uk-abwr/index.htm The Environment Agency’s consultation response and decision document is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/gda-of-hitachi-ge-nuclear-energy-ltds-uk-advanced-boiling-water-reactor

Following a period of pre-application engagement with the Isle of Anglesey Council and communities that spanned a number of years, an application for a Development Consent Order to develop a new nuclear power station on Horizon’s lead site known as Wylfa Newydd is expected to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in 2018. The timetable for consultation with South Gloucestershire communities is not yet known.

Avon power station

Scottish Power previously consulted on proposals to build a 950MW gas fired power station on the former Terra Nitrogen/Growhow site at Severnside. Some information on the proposals is available on the Planning Inspectorate’s web site, however the council does not currently have any information about the future timetable for this project.

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