Development consent order (DCO)

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A consent by a Minister for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) will take the form of a ‘development consent order This will combine a grant of planning permission with a range of other separate consents, such as listed building consent.

A development consent order can include rights to compulsorily purchase land. There are also special procedures relating to cases such as commons, National Trust land, and land protected under the Green Belt (London & Home Counties) Act 1938.

The Minister will have scope to apply, modify or exclude legislation in a development consent order. A development consent order can also confer ‘statutory authority’ for carrying out development, an automatic defence against claims for statutory nuisance. Such powers already exist for railway-related development. However, those whose land is affected by a project retain existing rights to claim compensation.

Local planning authorities will police the implementation of conditions and also have enforcement powers against:

  • development requiring development consent but for which no order is in force
  • breaches of the terms of an order.

Development consent orders and judicial review

Finally, the Act includes provision for judicial review, allowing the questioning of the following events in relation to a development consent order:

  • An order granting development consent, or a subsequent order correcting errors in, making changes to, or revoking the original order.
  • A refusal to grant development consent.
  • A decision by the Planning Inspectorate to refuse to accept an application for development consent.
  • Anything else done, or omitted to be done, by the Secretary of State or the Planning Inspectorate in relation to an application for development consent, but not including failing to decide the application.

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