The new planning system starts on 1 March 2010. This will be for major infrastructure projects, including large incinerators (over 50MW).

A new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) will take decisions previously made by the Secretary of State. They have no democratic accountability. Decisions of the IPC will be mostly determined by National Policy Statements (NPS).

Friends of the Earth (FoE) has submitted evidence to the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECC) inquiry into NPS – their argument regarding the waste sector in the ‘Renewables’ NPS is:

  • incinerators should be excluded, being really fossil fuel plants, emitting more CO2 than even gas-fired generation.
  • the NPS sets no requirement to show either ‘need’ or assess suppression of recycling and net CO2 emissions
  • incinerators are not covered in the Low Carbon Transition Plan or under EU ETS

Friends of the Earth also demonstrates that the parallel “Appraisals of Sustainability” do not comply with the legal requirements of Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) legislation nor reflect the government’s SEA guidance. In particular, they do not evaluate “reasonable alternatives”.

Considering the mega-incinerators to be covered by the IPC (e.g. Covanta’s proposal for a facility at Merthyr) are aimed at milking the subsidy system for renewables and will waste massive amounts of heat, it’s clear that excluding CO2 contradicts all energy efficiency policy. FoE concludes that the stripped-down planning process with no rights for local people to a public inquiry for these incinerators is quite wrong. To comply with environmental legislation, alternatives of higher recycling and use of waste heat must be allowed.

So FoE have two actions for you:

  1. join the e-lobby of your MP to support EDM 545 asking for the Government to rethink its consultation process
  2. respond to the consultation on NPS EN-3 with points from the above by 22 February – see

Friends of the Earth’s new briefing on the 2008 Planning Act can be found at

If you would like a copy of Friends of the Earth’s response to the energy NPS please contact

4 Responses to “FoE Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) Action”

  1. The IPC is one thing, and nasty too, but the Joint Waste Authority is another thing to concern us.

    “Residents of the local authority jungles are going to have to get used to a new creature. Partly a Frankenstein monster sewn together from bits of four councils, partly a legal genetic modification, it is set to prowl the local rubbish tips in search of savings and profit and opportunity.


    It will be more difficult to spot, won’t have to say what its going to do, won’t have to say as much as a local council about what it has done and will be made as near immortal as current technology allows. Without clear democratic accountability, and camouflaged as an entirely new legal entity it will be trying to get away with emissions and residue murder….BEWARE….. “

  2. In response to the above post, I don’t believe that JWAs are that bad. They are quite simply two or more councils working together to save money. The decisions will still be taken by elected members, who are accountable to the voters. Minutes and reports are still published on public websites and meetings are held in public, should you wish to attend.

  3. Our local SLWP had an away day at which the benefits of a JWA were stated as:
    1.being a new legal entity.
    2.having fewer reporting requirements, and
    3.being difficult to dissolve.
    Given the tone of the local consultation,extreme secrecy of the procurement process(in which the building of an incinerator,let alone hazardous and radioactive waste was being denied) and exclusion of the public from a number of meetings that should have been ordinary,people may understand a suspicious stance.£1 billion pounds is a lot of money to play with,and when the rules are secret,goodness knows what the result may be.

  4. It has been reported that the Conservative Party, if elected, would scrap the IPC and return power back to planning authorities. It’s not clear what would happen regarding applications submitted before the election.

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