Achieving the UK’s Net Zero targets will rely largely on the domestic production of low carbon energy. Recent increases in international gas prices have added urgency to the need for an expansion of domestic energy production at affordable prices.
Planning plays a pivotal role in ensuring timely delivery of projects. To achieve our Net Zero targets at the pace required, we need a planning system that can help us escalate rather than slow down the delivery of low carbon infrastructure projects. Yet the current system is riddled with complexities and bureaucracy which is causing delays to projects, even those that are construction ready. This is compounded by stark variations in policy and timescales across the devolved administrations.
Working closely with members, we identified some of the key barriers faced by industry in building the critical infrastructure required for achieving our Net Zero targets. We have produced these findings in a new Energy UK report that examines how the planning system needs to be reformed. In our report, we highlight the key priorities and principles that would enable an accelerated expansion of low carbon infrastructure essential to meet the UK’s Net Zero targets.
A reformed planning and permitting system must reflect the urgency of climate mitigation and the increased ambition set out in the Energy Security Strategy. This has to be accompanied by clear, consistent and streamlined policies that will allow the prioritisation of low-carbon projects and their swift approval. The report provides comprehensive recommendations to the UK Government and devolved administrations regarding how the delivery of key principles would help accelerate the energy transition.
Having an efficient planning system would result in huge benefits for the UK. It would help support the Government’s levelling up agenda by providing jobs, skills, and growth to communities that need them most.
The Government is currently reviewing and developing some of the key policies around the planning regime. This includes updating the energy National Policy Statements, drafting the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill and the Energy Bill and considering ways to fast-track consenting processes –all of which will have long-term impacts on delivery of critical infrastructure projects. Through this report, we continue to engage with government as they develop these policies so that we can rapidly expand our low-carbon infrastructure to build a planning system that is fit for future.