Energy and transport schemes can apply from March under new system that will save £300m a year

A new planning regime designed to reduce to one year the time major projects spend in the planning pipeline will be up and running by October, the government promised yesterday.

The new Infrastructure Planning Committee (IPC), introduced under the Planning Act 2008, will be accepting applications from the energy and transport sectors from 1 March 2010.

Housing and planning minister John Healey said the IPC would help create a more efficient, transparent and accessible planning system to deliver the infrastructure the UK needs. The new regime will save the country £300m a year.

“Businesses have told us they want certainty and predictability about how the new regime will work. I am confirming the dates from when the IPC will consider applications from each sector,” he said in a release.

The rules IPC will apply, the factors it must take into consideration when making decisions and the fees it will charge have been published for consultation.

Meanwhile, the government has selected Dr Pauleen Lane, elected member of Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council, and Robert Upton, secretary-general of the Royal Town Planning Institute, as the IPC's two deputy chairs. They will sit under Sir Michael Pitt, the IPC's chair.

Healey added that the IPC was crucial to meeting the carbon emission reduction target of 80% by 2080.