The energy National Policy Statements (NPSs) have been approved in the House of Commons.
Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has announced that the six energy National Policy Statements were debated, and have now been approved and designated under the provisions of section 5(1) of the Planning Act 2008.
Mr Huhne said: 'This designation marks a significant step forward, as it delivers a key part of our plans to move to a low carbon future while protecting the security of the UK's energy supplies at affordable prices.'
The independent Infrastructure Planning Commission will now use the NPSs to inform planning decisions. The NPSs will be used in future for recommendations by the IPC's successor, subject to passage of the Localism Bill.
It is hoped that developers of major energy projects in England and Wales will now have greater certainty on how planning applications will be considered. The designation means that the NPSs now have effect when companies submit planning applications for new nuclear power stations at any of the eight locations listed in the Nuclear NPS.
Charles Hendry, Minister for Energy, added: 'Far too often the planning system has resulted in delay and indecision over major energy projects and things simply not getting built. We are removing uncertainty to give industry the confidence to invest in much needed new energy infrastructure in this country.'
Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark said: 'Energy projects provide a real growth opportunity for this country and will bring billions of pounds of investment that will not only lead to jobs but essential new infrastructure. These statements are an important part of the package of reforms Government is making to the planning system and will ensure faster decisions can be made.'