Development Consent and Heritage

A nationally significant infrastructure project requires just a single development consent to proceed. This is instead of planning permission, listed building consent and scheduled monument consent. Development consent is decided by the Secretary of State on advice from a planning inspector/panel of inspectors.

The policies that apply to these decisions are set out in National Policy Statements (or NPSs).

Nationally significant infrastructure projects

These are defined in s14 and subsequent sections of the Planning Act 2008 (ref. 1). They are large projects concerned with infrastructure such as power generation, railways, ports, roads, waste, water, gas and electricity transmission.

The government has set out its vision for major investment in the UK's infrastructure in the National Infrastructure Strategy 2020 (ref. 2).

National policy statements

These documents produced by government set out the government's objectives for national significant infrastructure projects. They also contain policies on how particular applications for development consent should be decided. They contain policies for the consideration and conservation of the historic environment that are similar in effect to those contained in mainstream National Planning Policy Framework (ref. 3).


(1) s14 Planning Act 2008 

(2) National Infrastructure Strategy 2020

(3) National Planning Policy Framework, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, July 2021