Planning commissioners take up their posts

The new infrastructure planning commission will be ready to accept applications in March on major infrastructure projects, hopefully speeding up the process in getting them off the ground

With the appointment of its latest batch of commissioners just announced and the simultaneous publication of a revised "route map", the new infrastructure planning commission (IPC) says that it is on track to begin accepting applications the beginning of March next year.

Which is just as well because the list of "anticipated" projects is growing and could quickly become a backlog.

In addition to the three commissioners already appointed – including former chair of NHS South West Sir Michael Pitt, who is chairman the IPC has just announced the recruitment of Gideon Amos, currently chief executive of the Town & Country Planning Association; Katharine Bryan, formerly chief executive of Northern Ireland Water; and solicitor Emrys Parry.

Two more full time commissioners will be announced in the New Year and the IPC is currently recruiting a panel of 30 part-time commissioners.

The IPC, which will consider planning applications for "significant" infrastructure projects was established in October to cut the time it takes to bring such schemes to fruition.

The new "route map" sets out the programme for the introduction of the new regime. In March the IPC will begin to accept applications from the energy and transport sectors while the waste water and hazardous waste sectors will have to wait until April 2011 and the water supply sector until April 2012.

Thirteen projects are on the expanding list of anticipated projects, including five windfarms, four nuclear power stations, a biomass power plant, two overhead power lines and a road alteration project in Kent.

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