13 June 2024
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Tracks and Tiers: The NSIP Pre-Application Prospectus

To The Point
(7 min read)

In response to the Government's operational review of the DCO process introduced by the Planning Act 2008 and its long-standing ambitions to accelerate and improve DCO decision-making, the Planning Inspectorate has recently published the NSIP Pre-Application Prospectus.  This sets out some key areas of operational reform in the NSIP process, including a new pre-application service comprising a choice of three levels of service (with corresponding service fees) and the introduction of the Fast Track procedure.  This briefing considers the Prospectus and sets out our commentary on the main changes.


The NSIP Pre-Application Prospectus (the Prospectus) is the latest output of the review of the development consenting process for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) that began in 2021 with the ambition of accelerating and improving DCO decision-making.  Specifically, it is the Planning Inspectorate's response to the Government's 'Nationally Significant Infrastructure: action plan for reforms to the planning process' and subsequent consultation and response published earlier this year.

The Prospectus sits alongside recently updated Government guidance on the National Infrastructure Planning Guidance portal and supersedes its predecessor document published in 2014, which it advises "should not be relied on by projects entering the PA2008 system from May 2024".  There are also transitional arrangements for projects already at the pre-application stage.  
We summarise the key operational reforms to the NSIP process set out in the Prospectus and the updated guidance and provide our commentary below.

The Planning Inspectorate's new pre-application service and fees
The Inception Meeting and choice of service tier
Transitional arrangements
Primary service features
The Fast Track procedure
AG commentary

Next steps

If you would like to know more about the NSIP process or otherwise require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the Planning & Infrastructure Consenting Team.

To the Point 

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