The Conservative manifesto contained only wo (out of 81) pages on energy and supporting infrastructure. Planning asked a numer of commentators on the implications.
Michael Wiks, the NSIP specialist for POS, said the government's approach of asking suppliers to bid against each other on price to meet future demand was encouraging small schemes, "We've had applications locally [Suffolk] for between two and 20-megawatt gas plants in residential areas," said \Wilks. "Rather than major schemes, it's these smaller ones that are successful at auction."
Wilks also suggested that the government needs "to be more engaged and proactive." He said ministers' declared intent to defend Hinkley Point's funding "to the hilt" would give confidence to other developers, but not speed up delivery. "It is a long process, particularly when the Chinese have different designs for nuclear power stations that will need separate assessment by the Environment Agency," he said. "It's going to be difficult to expedite the delivery of new nuclear power stations."
Taking onshore wind out of the NSIP regime was something of a "back-handed compliment" to the NSIP process' effectiveness at securing consents Wilks said. "There is a subtlety, however, insofar as the policy basis for assessment would be different," he said. "Under the NPS regime, which applies to NSIPs, you've got a strong presumption in favour of development and the local plan is subordinate to that. But under the NPPF, which applies to all non-NSIP onshore wind applications, NPSs are only a material consideration." He added that it is barely believable that a secretary of state would have no interest in determining an application for a 95-megawatt wind farm."