Due to the size of the Sunnica scheme it is classed as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). The planning is decided through the National Infrastructure Planning process and is ultimately approved by the relevant Secretary of State.
Local councils and other bodies do not make the final decision on whether the scheme gets approved. However the opinion of the 4 "host" local authorities does carry weight and they would also be responsible for enforcement of the Development Consent Order if the scheme were to be approved. The Planning Inspectorate conducts a multi-stage examination of the scheme. They then prepare a report, including a recommendation on whether the scheme should be approved. The report is then sent to the relevant Secretary of State who will make the final decision. The whole process takes about 12 months.
Sunnica submitted their proposal to the Planning Inspectorate in November 2021. Local residents had their say at the pre-examination stage which closed on 17th March 2022. The proposal is now awaiting the Examination stage.
How to Stay Informed
If you would like to be kept up to date on the progress of the examination process you can register your email address on the Planning Inspectorate Site. This will allow you receive updates via e-mail. To register your e-mail address please click on the image on the right. This will take you to the relevant page on the Planning Inspectorate website.
The Planning Inspectorate helpline is 0303 444 5000 or they can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to seek advice or further information
The NSIP Examination Process
This diagram shows the 6 stages of the examination process and the associated timescales for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project like Sunnica.