Net Zero Teesside (NZT) is a Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) project which comprises a number of elements, including a new gas-fired power station, with state-of-the-art carbon capture technology, and a CO2 pipeline transport network connecting to local industry. Teesside is a region with a proud industrial heritage and home to a diverse and geographically compact cluster of industrial, power and hydrogen businesses who together account for around 5.6% of all UK emissions. Up to 10 million tonnes of CO2 each year will be transported to the coast, and onwards to safe, secure offshore storage in the Endurance carbon store in the southern North Sea.
A key stage in progressing a large energy project is to obtain a Development Consent Order (‘DCO’) containing planning and land powers. The developer must carry out extensive community consultation and technical engagement over a 1-2 year period in order to put together a DCO application. Only certain categories of ‘nationally significant’ project, or associated development, can be included in a DCO application, but some elements of the project did not fall squarely within these categories.
Early in the development of the project DWD obtained a direction from the Secretary of State that categorised the CO2 gathering network, booster station and transport pipeline as being of national significance. Based on experience promoting projects in Teesside, DWD then designed and implemented an adaptive consultation strategy that provided safe opportunities for communities to engage, deploying the AECOM online exhibition tool and advertising among other methods. An iterative process followed involving several rounds of consultation and information as the project developed. DWD prepared the Consultation Report, Planning Statement, and Needs Case documents, checked compliance with published guidance, and coordinated the submission of the DCO application.
The direction enabled a comprehensive single application to be made for the project, rather than separate applications to multiple authorities. The iterative consultation process informed scheme development and contributed towards the acceptance of the application by the Planning Inspectorate.