Growth, development and Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

Includes information on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and other large-scale developments projects

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs)

What are NSIPs?

To be considered nationally significant, the development must meet the size and scale criteria set out in the Planning Act 2008.

NSIPs do not require planning permission from the local authority. The developer must make an application to the Planning Inspectorate for development consent. The Planning Inspectorate examines the application and makes a recommendation to the relevant Secretary of State. It is the Secretary of State who then makes the final decision, guided by National Policy Statements written by the government. These policy statements provide the planning policy framework for different types of NSIPs.

Development consent is often made in the form of a single statutory instrument known as a Development Consent Order.

Our role in NSIPs

Growth and Development team

We must be consulted on all NSIPs that affect Essex. Our Growth and Development team work collaboratively across all service areas of the council to ensure that the full impacts across Essex are considered. This includes impacts to our:

  • economy
  • environment
  • health and wellbeing of communities

The team also work to ensure that all possible benefits to Essex are explored and maximised. Any comments we make must be considered before a Development Consent Order can be issued.

After the Development Consent Order has been issued, we are responsible for monitoring how it is implemented by the developer.

Our Nationally Significant Infrastructure (NSIP) Policy (PDF, 1.91 MB) lays out our position on NSIPs. The aim of this is to create consistent engagement in the development consent process to achieve our aims.

Councillors and officers

Individual councillors will not be consulted on the development process for NSIPs. However, they do have an important community engagement role and can raise local issues with officers.

Officers work closely with councillors to understand the views of the local community. They are responsible for carrying out the work of the council in accordance with national policy and guidance.

For more information, see our guidance on the role of Essex County Council in the NSIP development consent process (PDF, 727.46). This includes guidance for members of the local community who would like to engage in this process.

Current NSIPs affecting Essex

Project Description
Longfield Solar Farm A solar farm with battery storage, located to the north-east of Chelmsford.
North Falls Offshore Wind Farm A wind farm off the Essex coast, near Clacton-on-Sea.
Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm A wind farm off the Essex coast, near Clacton-on-Sea.
Twinstead Tee network reinforcement project A proposal of new overhead and underground network cables between Bramford Substation in Suffolk and Twinstead Tee near Halstead, Essex.
Road Improvements: A12 (Chelmsford) to A120 (Marks Tey) Widening to three lanes and partial re-routing scheme to ease congestion.
Norwich to Tilbury A proposed reinforcement of the 400kV high voltage power network in East Anglia (Norwich – Bramford – Tilbury) to include a new 400kV connection substation in the Tendring district.
Rivenhall Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) and Energy Centre An extension to enable electrical generating capacity of up to 65MW from its permitted current limit of 49.9 MW.
Lower Thames Crossing A proposed road crossing of the Thames estuary downstream of the Dartford Crossing that links the counties of Kent and Essex adjacent to the village of East Tilbury.
M25, Junction 28 Upgrade junction 28 of the junction between the M25 anti-clockwise and the A12 in Essex, including the provision of a dedicated link for this right-turn movement and minor improvements of the existing roundabout.
Oikos Marine & South Side project The expansion of marine infrastructure and equipment on two of the Terminal's jetties with new storage tanks in Canvey Island.
Bradwell Power Station A proposed new nuclear power station capable of generating up to 2.2GW of electricity at Bradwell-on-Sea. Currently in abeyance.
Sea Link project Construction of a new offshore HVDC cable between Suffolk and Kent with a converter station in Suffolk and in Kent.

Have your say

To find out more about nationally significant infrastructure projects, including how to access the registration page for making comments, read the Planning Inspectorate's having your say guide.

For further questions you can email the Growth and Development team at

Norwich to Tilbury consultation

National Grid opened a 2nd round of non-statutory and public consultation. This was open to anyone wishing to comment on its Norwich to Tilbury proposal, previously known as East Anglia Green. The consultation ran for 8 weeks until 21 August 2023.

You can find more about our comments to previous consultations by viewing:

An independent review of National Grid’s options appraisal for the Norwich to Tilbury NSIP was commissioned jointly by:

  • Essex County Council
  • Norfolk County Council 
  • Suffolk County Council

You can read the report containing the review in full (PDF, 1.45 MB) or a non-technical summary (PDF, 134.64 KB) that has been written jointly by the three county councils. 

Leaders of the three councils have issued a joint press release in response to the independent report.

National planning policy for energy

The government have issued new national planning policy for energy. All renewable energy projects, which include the proposed Norwich to Tilbury NSIP, are now critical national priority. New national planning policy also contains a strong starting presumption for the use of overhead power lines outside of protected landscapes. Visit to read the national policy statements for:

The government recently consulted on the site selection process for a new national policy statement for nuclear energy generation referred to as EN-7. Read our response to the consultation (PDF, 238.68KB).

Garden Communities

Garden Communities are large developments creating well-planned, sustainable places to live. Several Essex councils are working with each other and the government on these. In north Essex, Braintree, Colchester and Tendring have plans for new communities. In west Essex, growth will focus on the expansion of Harlow.