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Infrastructure

UK looks at fast tracking of new offshore wind, solar and nuclear

The Chancellor has reportedly ordered a review of the approval process of new offshore wind farms, solar projects and nuclear power sites.

This follows the delay, announced last week, in making a final consent decision for Hornsea 4 offshore wind farm.

The National Infrastructure Commission will be in charge of reviewing the current approach to National Policy Statements (NPSs) and exploring options that could accelerate the existing planning system.

The NPSs comprise the government’s objectives for the development of nationally significant infrastructure, including energy infrastructure.

The review will aim to address the speed of consenting renewable energy projects, such as offshore wind farms and solar farms.

The planning system has slowed in recent years, with the timespan for granting Development Consent Orders (DCOs) increasing by 65% between 2012 and 2021.

For example, offshore wind projects have been seen to take up to four years to get through the DCO process.

Commenting on the news that the government will look at speeding up the time it takes for major infrastructure projects to get planning permission, including offshore wind farms, Sam Richards founder and Campaign Director for pro-growth campaign group Britain Remade, said: “The government should absolutely look at speeding up how long it takes for major infrastructure projects to get the green light, it’s ridiculous that it can take up to 13 years for a new offshore wind farm to start generating power when construction only take two to three years.

“But it shouldn’t take an unnecessary and lengthy review for ministers to update planning statements to get Britain building again.

“The fact that even this small step in the right direction will exclude onshore wind, once again stopping people from benefitting from the cheapest source of energy, is alarming during a cost of living crisis.”

ELN has contacted the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and the Treasury for comment.

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