Nationally significant infrastructure projects

Find out about Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and proposals that need Acts of Parliament or a Transport & Works Act Order.

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) are large scale developments such as new railways, roads, airports, power generating stations and the like, which need a type of approval known as a ’development consent order’. They follow a different process to planning applications.

Pre-application consultation is a requirement. Following this promoters make their applications to the Planning Inspectorate, there is an opportunity for views to be put forward and the application is examined by Planning Inspectors. Then, taking account of the National Policy Statements, the Inspectors make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State, who makes the decision on whether to grant or to refuse the development consent order.

Our involvement

As a prescribed consultee, we’ll be asked for our advice on proposals "likely to have an impact on inland waterways or land adjacent to inland waterways". This means that those promoting the project need to consult us before making their application (ie. at the pre-application stage). We are also consulted when the application goes to the Planning Inspectorate.

We’ll make our views known at both stages. We decide, on a case by case basis, how involved we should get in the Planning Inspector’s examination of the application.

As the development consent order process also allows the compulsory acquisition of land and associated rights, we may be involved as a landowner.

Take a look at the table below to see recently decided and relevant live NSIP proposals that we have been consulted on.

Relevant Infrastructure Project Stage
Heathrow Airport Western Rail Link Pre-application
M42 Junction 6 Improvement Scheme Pre-application
A5036 Port of Liverpool Access Scheme Pre-application
Ferrybridge D Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) Power Station Project Pre-application
Drax Re-Power Examination
Eggborough Power Station, Goole, East Yorkshire Post Decision
Rail Central (Strategic Rail Freight Interchange) Pre-examination
West Midlands Interchange, Staffordshire Examination
Keuper Gas Storage, Middlewich, Cheshire Post Decision
North London Heating & Power Post Decision
Triton Knoll Electrical System, Lincolnshire Post Decision
North West Coast Connections (National Grid), Cumbria and Lancashire Pre-application
Silvertown Tunnel, London Post Decision
Heathrow Western Rail link Pre-application
North Shropshire Electricity Distribution Network Pre-application
Oxford to Cambridge Expressway Pre-application
Expansion of Heathrow Airport (Third Runway) Pre-application

Get help on the NSIP process

How to respond to consultations as an individual or on behalf of a waterway organisation

A summary of the NSIP process can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website and a more indepth overview of our involvement on the NSIPs and other infrastructure projects page. There’s lots more advice and details of the applications on the Planning Inspectorate's site too.

Proposals needing an Act of Parliament

Some schemes, such as the High Speed 2 railway, are given the go ahead by an Act of Parliament. Find out about our involvement in HS2 here.

More general information about Crossrail 2, on which we're a consultee, can be found here.

Proposals needing a Transport & Works Act Order

A Transport & Works Act Order (TWAOs) applies to certain infrastructure projects not defined as NSIPs and not needing an act of parliament. Take a look at the table below to see recently decided and relevant live TWAO proposals that we have been consulted on.

Relevant Infrastructure Project Stage
East West Rail Network (Cambridge to Oxford) Pre-Examination
Midland Metro: Wednesbury - Brierley Hill Extension Examination
Midland Metro: Edgbaston Extension Post Decision

Applications under the Electricity Act 1989

The Planning Act 2008 dis-applied the provisions of the Electricity Act 1989 in relation to consents for projects in England and Wales except in certain circumstances.

Consents which have been granted under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 for the construction or extension, and operation, of electricity generating stations (section 36 consents) by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (now the Secretary for State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) or their predecessors or the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) can be varied.

Take a look at the table below to see recently decided and relevant live proposals for the variation of applications approved under the Electricity Act 1989.

Relevant Infrastructure Project Stage
Keadby 2 Power Station Project Pre-Examination

Last date edited: 8 April 2019