Have your say about a national infrastructure project

This guide is for individuals and organisations who want to have their say about a project.

National infrastructure projects are also called Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). These are large scale developments like:

  • offshore wind farms
  • power stations and electric lines
  • motorways and other major roads
  • railways
  • gas pipelines

The process for national infrastructure projects is to decide if a Development Consent Order (DCO) can be granted. A DCO is a legal document that allows an applicant to build their proposed project. The applicant submits an application for a proposed development to the Planning Inspectorate. A panel of independent inspectors called the Examining Authority look at the project and start the examination of the application. They make a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State about whether the project should go ahead.

As part of this process, anyone can have their say about the project and tell us why they think it should or should not go ahead.

Find a project and have your say

  1. Step 1 Taking part at the pre-application stage

    Pre-application is the first stage of the process. This is where the applicant must consult with people and organisations. The applicant must provide information about how you can submit your comments to them. It is important to get involved at this stage as you can influence the application before the applicant sends it to the Planning Inspectorate.

    1. Taking part before the application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.
  2. Step 2 Registering to have your say about a national infrastructure project

    To get involved after the application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate, you must register to have your say at the pre-examination stage. Pre-examination is where we prepare for an examination. We will identify an inspector or a panel of inspectors called the Examining Authority and make a plan for the examination stage. Registration is open for at least 30 days. The pre-examination stage takes about 3 months.

    1. How to register to have your say about a national infrastructure project.
  3. Step 3 Get involved in the preliminary meeting

    In the months after the registration period closes, the Examining Authority will hold a preliminary meeting. This meeting is to discuss the main issues the Examining Authority will be examining, and the timetable for the examination stage.

    1. What you can do at the preliminary meeting.
  4. Step 4 Have your say during the examination of the application

    At this stage the Examining Authority asks questions about the proposed development. The applicant and anyone who has registered to have their say can make comments by the deadlines in the examination timetable. Anyone can attend hearings that may take place during this stage. The examination can take up to 6 months.

    1. Submitting comments during the examination stage.
  5. Step 5 What you can do after the decision has been made

    Once a decision is made by the relevant Secretary of State, there is a 6 week period where people can challenge the decision in the High Court. This is called a judicial review.

    1. What happens after a decision has been made?