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Major Development Schemes and Infrastructure

Aimed at developers and local authorities involved in nationally significant infrastructure projects, this page explains Historic England’s approach to major road and energy schemes, and their impact on historic buildings and places.

Issue

Improving the nation’s infrastructure is one of the government’s top priorities, with transport and energy identified as key areas.  The roads and railways are currently subject to major investment.  The supply of energy in the UK is being transformed with the introduction of a new generation of nuclear power stations.

A number of these sites are of historic interest and the proposed schemes could have direct or indirect impacts on the historic environment.  This needs to be properly assessed so the impacts can be fully understood and addressed, where appropriate.

Due to their large scale most of these schemes are likely to be defined as nationally significant infrastructure projects where a set of new procedures apply.

Nationally significant infrastructure projects

The Planning Act (2008) created a new regime of development consent for certain types of nationally significant infrastructure.

These are:

  • Major energy projects
  • Railways
  • Ports
  • Major roads
  • Airports
  • Water and
  • Waste project

Developers can also take the most significant business and commercial projects through this route if they wish.

The purpose is to simplify and speed up planning consent whilst reducing the need for separate consents, enabling decisions to be taken faster. Applications are submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination.

Once complete, a recommendation is put to the relevant Secretary of State who will make a final decision on the Development Consent Order. The government's website, Planning Portal, gives further information on the process.

Historic England is a statutory consultee on all Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and Annex E of the Planning Inspectorates Advice Note 11 gives further advice to applicants on how to work with us, together with our pre-application information requirements.

Transport

Our webpage on transport describes in more detail the principles that Historic England will follow when considering transport-related policy and development.

Renewable energy

We have also produced advice on how renewable energy projects, such as wind turbines, solar panels and biomass, might affect the historic environment and their impacts avoided or minimised.

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EC1N 2ST

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