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Public urged to have its say on major project planning

13 November 2009

Planning Aid England is encouraging individuals and community groups to get involved in the consultation on the first draft National Policy Statements published this week.

The first seven of 12 National Policy Statements (NPS) – which set out the national need for particular types of major infrastructure – are on overarching energy needs, fossil fuel power stations, nuclear power stations, electricity power lines, renewable energy, gas supply infrastructure (including gas and oil pipelines), and ports.

Planning Aid England will be offering independent advice to individuals and groups – who cannot afford professional fees – on how they can have their say in the new planning process for major infrastructure.

From March 2010 the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) will decide on individual applications for major projects based on the NPS criteria set out today for the first time.

To help people quickly understand what each draft statement covers Planning Aid England has today (Monday, November 9, 2009) published a series of short free leaflets explaining the new process and offering a summary of what each NPS contains.

Government consultation on the statements starts today. Planning Aid England 's independent role is to raise awareness of the consultation and give people and communities the opportunity to make their views heard.

Planning Aid England will be:

  • Explaining how the new planning system for major projects will work
  • Offering the public independent advice on having their say
  • Offering training to groups and individuals
  • Facilitating public meetings (subject to staff availability and the eligibility of the person or group making the request)
  • Helping direct members of the public to relevant sources of information

Sue Manns, Planning Aid England National Planner, said: \"Now is the time when the public can have most influence on the planning of projects which affect not only their area but the whole country.
\"These statements, once finalised, will provide the framework for all future decisions by the IPC on individual applications. Anyone who wants to have their say needs to make their views known to government now.\"