Director of Infrastructure Planning Commission says it will make decisions from June 2011 despite being abolished the following year

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) has said that it expects to begin making decisions on applications in June 2011.

This is despite the fact that the body, which was set up under the Labour government and gives permission for large infrastructure projects in the UK including nuclear power stations, is to be officially abolished in April 2012.

The coalition government’s Localism Bill, expected to achieve royal assent by April 2011, will abolish the IPC, merge its functions into the Planning Inspectorate, and give ministers the final say over major infrastructure projects.

However, Ian Gambles, IPC director of operations, said yesterday that the industry would continue to function right up to its abolition. He was speaking at a briefing for lawyers acting on behalf of clients who have lodged applications with the Commission.

He said: “Applications will continue. We will continue to receive applications right up until the day we are abolished.”

Applications would advance through the IPC system over the next year and decisions would begin to be made in June and increase from then on, he said.

He estimated that from submission to a final decision on project would take around 13 months, although he stressed that the examination and decision processes, which were expected to take nine months in total, had never been tried before by the IPC.

The IPC currently has around 50 applications lodged with it. “80% are energy or energy related,” Gambles said.

These include 30.5 gigawatts of offshore wind farms, and four nuclear power stations.