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Fast-track planning route for major infrastructure

Secretary of State for Levelling Up Greg Clark has announced a new fast-track planning route, which will ensure major infrastructure projects such road improvements and offshore wind farms will be delivered more quickly.

The new powers will mean shorter deadlines can be set for examinations of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects – speeding up decisions and getting projects built more quickly, with the relevant Secretary of the State being able to decide whether to put the shorter deadline in place.

This also means decisions on smaller (non-material) changes to projects that have already been approved can be made much more quickly – currently these can take up to 16 months, sometimes causing significant delays to delivery.

Levelling Up Secretary Greg Clark said: “Particularly in a time of high inflation, things need to be done more quickly or costs of major infrastructure projects will rise.

“These changes will help deliver new infrastructure more quickly, by speeding up the planning process which often moves too slowly.”

The government will make the changes to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects process through amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill.

This announcement is part of plans to speed up the planning process for large-scale projects and builds on efforts in the government’s Energy Security Strategy to make sure the country is building the infrastructure it needs faster than before.

More than £750,000 has also been awarded to ten council-led projects to support innovation in ensuring the needs of local communities are reflected in the process.

The government intends to publish a full Action Plan, as well as consultation on the national policy statements and on further regulatory and guidance changes to improve the operation of the system, over the coming months. This will include more details about possible timeframes and how the process would work.

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