Project of Common Interest
The European Commission has adopted guidelines to assist in the development of energy networks within Europe. These networks will play an important role in ensuring an efficient energy market within Europe and the security and diversification of energy supply. These guidelines are known as the TEN-E Regulation. They set out guidelines for streamlining the permitting process (in this case Development Consent) for major energy infrastructure projects that contribute to European energy networks. These projects are referred to as Projects of Common Interest.
The Richborough Connection Project is a Project of Common Interest as it is necessary to connect the proposed Nemo Link® between the UK and Belgium to the National Electricity Transmission System.
Further information on the Regulation can be found on the European Commission Website at: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/infrastructure/pci/pci_en.htm
National Competent Authority
The guidelines require each country to identify a body that is responsible for ensuring the requirements of the TEN-E Regulation are fulfilled. This is known as the National Competent Authority. In the case of the Richborough Connection Project this is the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). DECC has produced guidance, known as the Manual of Procedures, which sets out practical advice for developers and the general public.
Further information and a copy of the Manual of Procedures can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/consents-and-planning-applications-for-national-energy-infrastructure-projects
For the Richborough Connection Project, DECC has delegated tasks relating to the TEN-E Regulation to the Planning Inspectorate alongside their consideration of the application for Development Consent under the Planning Act 2008.
Further information on this and progress to date specifically in relation to the project is available on the Planning Inspectorate website at: http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/south-east/richborough-connection-project/?ipcsection=tene
What it means for the Richborough Connection Project?
The Regulation means that both National Grid and the Planning Inspectorate need to undertake some additional tasks beyond those required under the Planning Act 2008.
For example, the Planning Inspectorate must ensure a decision is made within three and a half years following pre-application notification from National Grid and within 18 months of submission of the application.
As required by the Regulation, National Grid notified the Planning Inspectorate that an application was expected. The Planning Inspectorate has acknowledged this notification and accepted the project in to the permitting process. Both these documents can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website at: http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/south-east/richborough-connection-project/?ipcsection=tene
The Regulation promotes transparency and public participation in the decision-making process. The requirements are very similar to those under the Planning Act 2008 which National Grid will also be undertaking. To avoid duplication and confusion single documents will be prepared for submission of the application to the Planning Inspectorate that fulfill the requirements of both the Planning Act 2008 and TEN-E Regulation in parallel.
For clarity the table below shows where information related to the Regulation can be found on this website: