The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has announced it is to carry out a second consultation on its energy national policy statements following concerns raised by IEMA during the initial investigation.
In its response to the draft Energy National Policy Statements, IEMA voiced its concerns that the Appraisal of Sustainability carried significant risk of non-compliance with the Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive (2001/42/EC) and was therefore open to legal challenge.
As part of the re-consultation, DECC has confirmed that amendments have been made to the Appraisal of Sustainability for the Overarching Energy National Policy Statement based on IEMA's feedback.
Commenting on the Government's announcement, Martin Baxter, IEMA's Executive Director � Policy, said "Government's acknowledgement that amendments to the Appraisal of Sustainability were required is welcome.
"IEMA highlighted significant flaws in the appraisal process, including a failure to properly assess demand management. There was a real risk that the National Policy Statements could have been successfully challenged in the courts, delaying decisions on critical national energy infrastructure projects" he continued.
IEMA submitted a key issues paper to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change's Select Committee inquiry into the draft Energy National Policy Statements at the beginning of 2010. Key issues highlighted by IEMA were:
- The Appraisal of Sustainability process, undertaken for EN1-5, is considered to carry risk related to compliance with the SEA Directive (2001/42/EC), if realised these risks would lead to a lack of certainty and delays to decisions related to energy infrastructure needed to allow the UK to transition to a low carbon economy.
- Draft NPSs EN-1&2 fail to set out an effective framework that will ensure decisions made, in relation to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) related to fossil fuel generating capacity, do not have adverse impacts on the UK's long-term carbon budget.
- The current format of draft NPSs EN1to5 is overly long and their current content could pose risks to the effective operation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process required for the majority of applications to the IPC.
IEMA's role in this significant Government u-turn was reported in the July issue of The ENDS?Report, demonstrating the weight of IEMA's opinion and the institute's value to Government policy-forming.
Posted on 5th August 2010
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