Examination of nationally significant infrastructure projects—general
Examination of nationally significant infrastructure projects—general

The following Planning guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Examination of nationally significant infrastructure projects—general
  • Legislation and guidance
  • Examining authority
  • Interested parties
  • Costs awards

The Planning Act 2008 sets out a development consent regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) in the fields of energy, transport, water, waste water, and waste.

Applications for development consent orders (DCOs) are decided in accordance with National Policy Statements (NPSs), which set out the national policy in relation to NSIPs. See Practice Note: National Policy Statements.

Although the Secretary of State (SoS) bears legal responsibility for the decision, in practice, the government delegates responsibility for accepting and examining applications to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). See Practice Note: Permission for nationally significant infrastructure projects.

For more information on the examination procedure, see Practice Note: Examination of nationally significant infrastructure projects—procedure and Flowchart: Development consent order (DCO) application procedure—flowchart.

Legislation and guidance


The examination procedure is set out in the:

  1. Planning Act 2008

  2. Infrastructure Planning (Examination Procedure) Rules 2010, SI 2010/103, and

  3. Infrastructure Planning (Interested Parties and Miscellaneous Prescribed Provisions) Regulations 2015, SI 2015/462


The government has produced guidance to assist applicants in understanding the examination procedure.

In addition, PINS has published a series of advice notes relating to the examination procedure, including:

  1. Advice note 8.3: How to register and become an interested party

  2. Advice note 8.4: Influencing how an application will be examined – the Preliminary Meeting

  3. Advice note 8.5: Participating in the examination

  4. Awards of costs: examinations of applications for development