Permitting and Planning

The Committee of Public Accounts recently said that 40% of renewable energy projects are likely to be abandoned due to financing constraints and failure to obtain planning permission.

We believe that the biggest reason for planning applications being blocked or permits not being granted is a lack of public understanding and awareness around the concept, the technology and the processes involved.  It is the responsibility of the developer to ensure that their application is not only understood by the local community and relevant stakeholders, but that there is community buy-in.

The PREL team can work with you through the planning process.

The planning implications are similar to other large-scale industrial processes and none are insurmountable:

  • There will always be local and politically motivated issues surrounding applications using thermal technology.  That said, EU regulations prescribe a separation between urban areas and industrial units such as the proposed plant.  These are generally incorporated in local structure plans and planning guidance frameworks
  • As long as these prescribed separations are observed, the council has a clear vision of what it wishes to achieve, and a good working relationship is established with the local population, all challenges can be overcome
  • The incoming National Planning Policy Framework will also presume in favour of sustainable development

Specific planning implications for projects that involve this type of technology are:

  • Siting to take advantage of the sources of waste supply so as to minimise transport distances
  • Planning transfer stations where bulk container compaction can be carried out thus minimising individual truck movements
  • Possibility of transport by water given the extensive canal network in some regions
  • Necessity for a supply of cooling water for the plant
  • Scrutiny of the road network to accommodate increased heavy truck movements converging on the plant location
  • Study to ensure no impacts to areas of scientific interest
  • Compliance with the local plan and waste local plan guidance

This is a complicated process and a huge amount of education around waste management still needs to take place in the UK in order to not only catch up, but also to keep up with our European and Asian counterparts.

The PREL team can work with you to ensure that the planning and permitting arguments can be made robustly and the environmental benefits of this combination of technologies are understood more widely.