Nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIP) are large projects such as:

  • power stations
  • pylon lines
  • railways
  • large wind farms
  • reservoirs
  • harbours
  • airports
  • sewerage treatment plants
  • nuclear power plants

Applications for Development Consent Orders are submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for examination and decided by the Secretary of State. We are a consultee to this process.

Each application is reviewed primarily against National Policy Statements for energy infrastructure (GOV.UK) covering NSIP projects, although local policy can also be relevant. We have policy in place in both our adopted Core Strategy and Policies Sites and Places Plan.

A consultation on a new National Policy Statement for new nuclear power generation (New approach to siting beyond 2025) was carried out at the start of 2024.

Before submitting an application for consent, developers must show they have consulted with the right people and organisations and that their views have been considered. Both we and local communities are consulted.

Active projects in South Gloucestershire

There are 3 significant infrastructure projects related to nuclear and its connections active in South Gloucestershire:

  • a 150ha site at Oldbury on Severn located to the north of Nuclear Restoration Services (NRS, formerly Magnox) power station – this site is designated in national policy for nuclear new build and is one of the two sites that comprise the Severn Edge initiative
  • decommissioning, clean-up and demolition of the defueled NRS power station at Oldbury
  • National Grid’s Hinkley Point C connection project

We are also consulted on projects in adjacent local authority areas. 

1. Severn Edge

This Western Gateway-led Severn Edge initiative is promoting the regeneration of sites at Oldbury and the Science and Technology Park at Berkeley to host nuclear and related opportunities that would contribute to net zero and deliver high quality education, training, skills, and job opportunities for our local communities, along with environmental benefits.

Complementing the potential for nuclear and related low carbon technology development there is also potential for the South Gloucestershire and Stroud College at Berkeley to support the delivery of the specialist skills that will be needed.

The agreed ambitions for Severn Edge are set out in the Western Gateway vision document. Developer interest in the Oldbury and Berkeley sites includes from Rolls Royce and other technologies.

Horizon Nuclear Power Ltd owns two designated nuclear build sites at Oldbury and Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey, however their proposals to develop large scale new nuclear power stations were withdrawn in 2020.

Horizon has committed to being a good neighbour and responsible landowner, and to maintaining contact with us and local communities. As a part of this, Horizon is a partner in the Severn Edge initiative.

2. Decommissioning of the existing power station at Oldbury

NRS is working on a programme of decommissioning that is expected to be completed in the 2080’s. Current work includes the retrieval, conditioning and packaging of waste and demolitions of buildings that are no longer needed. The substation has recently gone and this will be followed by the demolition of the turbine hall.

Subject to agreement of the NDA there may be the potential to reuse existing NRS infrastructure that is not needed for decommissioning, including the tidal reservoir and grid connections to support new nuclear development on the adjacent nuclear new build site to the north of the existing power station.

3. Hinkley Point C connection project

The Hinkley C connection Project will provide a new high voltage grid connection to the proposed new build nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C in Somerset.  Although the majority of works are in other local authority areas, this scheme includes a relatively short stretch of new pylon line running through the Enterprise Area at Severnside in South Gloucestershire, before linking to the existing Seabank Power Station substation.

National Grid promoted the project and the Secretary of State gave consent on 19 January 2016. Further information is available on the National Grid’s Hinkley Connections website.

Our role during the planning stages was as a consultee on the project. Working with other affected councils and the National Grid throughout the pre-application and examination stages of the project, we sought to ensure that impacts of the project on our communities, businesses and environment and the wider Severnside Enterprise Area are minimised.

Our current role is in discharging requirements that are relevant to South Gloucestershire and attached to the Development Consent Order. Discharge of Requirement applications made by the National Grid to South Gloucestershire Council, and both the applications and decisions on these are available by searching Public Access, our planning applications website.

This project is due to be completed in 2025.

Working arrangements

At the start of any pre-application involvement with the project promoter, we promote the use of Planning Performance Agreements (PPA) to ensure we have the necessary resource in place to service these large and complex projects.

The PPA sets out working arrangements and ensures an efficient project managed approach to the work. It also ensures that the project promoter provides resource to cover additional work that we may need to do in assessing and advising on matters such as planning, design, impact assessment and mitigation.

The signing of a PPA does not bind us to any future decisions or recommendations. The documents include specific commitments that we will act independently, impartially, and in accordance with our statutory duties at all times.

We have one current Planning Performance Agreement in place for the implementation phase of the Hinkley C Connections Project.

In support of our role as host to a proposed nuclear new build site, we are a member of two groups which work to promote the best social, economic and environmental outcomes for host communities:

  • New Nuclear Local Authorities Group (NNLAG)
  • Nuclear Advisory Legacy Forum

Both groups help support efficient and effective working by sharing best practice and learning from experience on other sites, as well as seeking to positively influence emerging policy and practice of government and regulators.

New Nuclear Local Authorities Group (NNLAG)

Made up of local authorities that are proposed to host new nuclear power stations. In January 2020, NNLAG published an independent study by Oxford Brookes University on the impacts of the early stages of construction of the Hinkley Point C new nuclear power station.

This study is intended to help local government and other stakeholders to work with developers, to plan and implement such projects so that opportunities and benefits are maximised and negative impacts are minimised.

Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum (NuLeAF)

Made up of local authorities that host existing nuclear power stations, including those that are being decommissioned and waste facilities. NuLeAF is regularly consulted by government departments and the regulators on proposals related to decommissioning and radioactive waste management.

Oldbury Site Stakeholder Group (SSG)

This is an independently chaired and administered group by NRS to provide local communities with more information about the work there. It is intended as a forum for open and transparent communication between host local communities, the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency, the site operator (NRS) and the regulators such as the Environment Agency and the Office For Nuclear Regulation.

While focused on the NRS power station, the SSG has provided the opportunity for the promoters of nuclear new build to present to and engage with local people and organisations.

Due to the proximity of the sites, the Oldbury and Berkeley SSG’s generally meet together. Find out more about the Site Stakeholder Groups.

Consultation responses

You can read our responses to consultations about nuclear proposals:

Fees and charges

These are approved annually by Executive Member decision. Following a non-rechargeable introductory meeting, our charges for the provision of pre-application, post submission or post consent advice and services for NSIPs will be either:

  • as set out in a Planning Performance Agreement or
  • at standard hourly rates for officer time or
  • as set out in consented NSIP documentation

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