Process and Timeframes

Process and Timeframes

The Planning Act 2008 and supporting regulations sets out the procedure to be followed when seeking Development Consent for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. This section sets out a brief overview of the procedure and gives an indication of the timeframes for each stage.

The procedure is divided into six distinct stages:

  • Pre-application – the promoter prepares the application in consultation with stakeholders and the community;
  • Acceptance – The Planning Inspectorate determine whether the application can be accepted for examination;
  • Pre-examination – acceptance of the application is publicised and interested parties register their interest;
  • Examination – The panel examine the application using a mixture of written questions and public hearings;
  • Decision – The panel complete their report and submit it to the Secretary of State who decides the application
  • Post-decision – challengers have 6 weeks within which to issue a legal challenge to the decision.

The procedure is ‘front-loaded’ with an emphasis on undertaking thorough pre-application consultation to refine the project and address the concerns of stakeholders before submitting the application for examination. The trade-off is that the remaining five steps are accelerated and run to statutorily defined time limits.