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NSIP (Planning Act 2008)

What is a NSIP?

Under The Planning Act 2008, nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) are large scale projects falling into five general categories (Energy; Transport; Water; Waste Water and Waste).  

They include projects as diverse as electricity generating projects, rail freight  interchanges, reservoirs and hazardous waste facilities.

Since April 2012 the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) has been the agency responsible for operating the planning process for NSIPs under the Localism Act 2011 which abolished the former Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC).

Thresholds for Infrastructure developments considered to be nationally significant and requiring development consent are set out in the Planning Act 2008 Regime. As well as amendments under the Localism Act 2011, there have been some further small changes via the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 which has also enabled a further category of business or commercial projects to use the regime. The Infrastructure Act 2015 speeds up further the planning process for nationally significant infrastructure projects.

What is HSE’s role?

HSE is a statutory consultee for all Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) in England and for some such projects in Wales. Both the promoter of an NSIP and the Planning Authority have a statutory duty to consult HSE.

HSE deals with each aspect of the Planning Inspectorate’s NSIP process as follows:


Scoping Requests – HSE is a consultation body for the purposes of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations. The Planning Inspectorate consults HSE following a request by an Applicant for an EIA Scoping Opinion made in accordance with the EIA Regulations. HSE (in response to a Scoping Opinion consultation request from the Planning Inspectorate) checks that the Scoping Request does not misrepresent our advisory role in the EIA and Planning Act 2008 process. HSE does not comment on the specific approach to EIAs but we pass on observations to help the applicant progress their application as necessary. The risk assessment requirements in the EIA Regulations 2017 are covered in Annex G above.

Section 42 consultation – HSE receives and responds to all formal consultation requests from the applicant under Section 42 of the Planning Act 2008.


Section 56 Acceptance for Examination – HSE receives confirmation that an application has been accepted for examination under Section 56 of the Planning Act 2008. A relevant representation response is submitted, if there are significant outstanding concerns.


Rule 6 Notice of Preliminary Meeting – HSE receives a Rule 6 letter from the Planning Inspectorate giving Notice of the Preliminary Meeting. HSE could be asked for further information and a response is despatched as appropriate.


Rule 8 Notice of Procedural Decisions – HSE receives a Rule 8 letter from the Planning Inspectorate giving Notice of Procedural Decisions made following the preliminary meeting and formally opening the examination. HSE could again be asked for further information and a response is despatched as appropriate.

At Rule 8 stage, any statutory parties that did not make a relevant representation are asked if they wish to become an Interested Party.

HSE has set up an e-mail account for the receipt of planning applications for NSIPs. Queries regarding consultation with HSE at the pre-application stage can also be sent to this account.

Updated: 2018-09-04