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Delays to energy projects a Uk business group has warned

UK business group the CBI is warning that changing the country’s planning system could lead to further delays to energy projects.

Under the current system, the CBI has identified 37 power plant projects, equivalent to 17.5 GW, which are still awaiting Government approval.

Some of the projects, which include gas- and coal fired power stations, on- and off-shore wind farms, biomass, wave and tidal projects, have been waiting three years for a decision.

The previous administration set up the independent Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) earlier this year with the remit of fast-tracking such projects.

But the new Coalition Government has axed the IPC in favour of a Major Infrastructure Unit that will put decision making on major infrastructure projects back into the hands of ministers.

The CBI is concerned that ministers will not be able to deliver timely decisions under the new regime. It wants to see the Government commit to clearing the backlog of applications in the next six months to give investors confidence in the new system.

“The Government must get a grip on planning,” says Neil Bentley of the CBI. “We already have a log-jam of delayed planning applications for major energy projects inherited from the previous Government, and there is still uncertainty about how the new Major Infrastructure Unit will work in practice. The new planning regime must be streamlined.”

The CBI launched a report last week outlining the actions the new Government must take to revitalise the country’s energy system and unlock private investment.