Guidance on drafting development consent orders published
The Planning Inspectorate has published detailed guidance on drafting Development Consent Orders (DCO) with particular emphasis on consent for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects to help applicants in the energy, transport, water and waste sectors with interpretation and adherence to the Planning Act 2008.
Some of the highlights of the guidance include:
- the use of a validated statutory instrument template available from the Office for Public Sector Information is the recommended best practice;
- references to statutes used and the overall structure of the DCO should be thoroughly checked, precise and accurate throughout;
- applicants need to have a clear audit trail of any changes they make during the application process which helps the Examination Authority and Secretary of State understand how the DCO has come about. Each revised application should be supported by sufficient evidence and detailed explanations;
- adverse impacts of the planned project should have adequate mitigation provisions in place;
- compliance with Environmental Impact Assessments is vital for the DCO to be granted;
- whether hedgerows and trees need to be removed in whole or part needs to be adequately catered for;
- the definition of the obligation to ‘maintain’ anything should be clear on all the parties involved;
- the extinguishment of private rights over land needs to be fully established through notice and/or agreement negotiations; and
- licence and transfer considerations should also be clearly drafted.
For more information, please contact our property team.