Most large scale infrastructure projects in Wales fall to be considered as a Development of National Significance (DNS) under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. However, due to a change in the powers devolved to Welsh Ministers, some schemes that fall outside the DNS process must be considered under the Transport and Works Act 1992 (the TWA) instead. This will be the case until a new Wales Infrastructure Consent process is brought into effect.
Orders under the TWA can only authorise certain types of infrastructure projects in Wales, for example works that interfere with rights of navigation in waters up to the limits of the territorial sea. These include bridges, piers, barrages, tunnels and similar.
Promoters of schemes of this kind often need a range of powers to put their scheme into practice.
Under the TWA, a promoter can apply to the Welsh Ministers for an order giving those powers. The order, if made, is known as a TWA order. A TWA order is not a planning permission, but the applicant can ask the Welsh Ministers to grant planning permission for any development described in the order at the same time.
The powers that can be given in a TWA order can be very wide-ranging and can include powers to carry out and use works that interfere with navigation rights, compulsory powers to buy land, the right to use land (for example, for access or for a work site), amendments to, or exclusion of, other legislation and the closure or alteration of roads and footpaths, among other things.
Putting the scheme into practice could affect people’s enjoyment of their property and affect the environment. Because of this, applications for TWA orders have to follow a set procedure which allows people the opportunity to give their views on the proposals.
Applications for Orders are considered by an appointed Planning Inspector who will consider evidence and representations submitted by the applicant and other interested bodies and individuals. The Inspector will then submit a report to the Welsh Ministers recommending whether the Order should be made and whether any planning permission requested by the applicant should be granted. The final decision is then made by the Welsh Ministers.