Our Development Consent Order

Seeking permission to build the scheme

This scheme is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP), which means it’s classed as a large, complex infrastructure project that benefits the entire country.

To build the scheme, we need to gain a Development Consent Order (DCO) from the Planning Inspectorate.

Our DCO application has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate, which means the examination process can now proceed.

Development Consent Order process

This image shows the timeline for the DCO process. We are currently in the pre-examination stage.

Infographic shows Development Consent Order process


Pre-application stage

This is when we present the scheme to members of the public and stakeholders. We consulted on the scheme in 2019 and summer 2020. This feedback, along with ongoing engagement and design development, has been used to shape the scheme and prepare our DCO application.

This does not mean that our DCO application is approved, it is when the Planning Inspectorate decides whether we have submitted all the relevant documentation to allow the application to move forward.

This stage allows for anyone to register as an Interested Party. By doing this, you will be able to submit a written representation or attend a public hearing to present your views.

The Planning Inspectorate will also formally appoint a panel of inspectors to serve as the Examining Authority, and a first meeting will be held to discuss procedural issues and the timetable for examination, called the Preliminary Hearing.

This is a six-month process when the Examining Authority will examine the DCO application against the tests in the National Policy Statement for National Networks.

The Examining Authority will assess feedback from the public and stakeholders through written representations and the hearings. If you have registered as an Interested Party in the pre-examination phase, you can make a representation.

Following the end of the six-month examination stage, the Examining Authority will have three months to write a recommendation report and submit it to the Secretary of State for Transport.

The Secretary of State for Transport then has up to three months to make the final decision on whether to grant our DCO.

If the Secretary of State for Transport grants the DCO, this is the final stage of the process and provides a six-week window for anyone with legal grounds to challenge the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision through judicial review.

This is when scheme construction will start.


What happens next

We’re now in the pre-examination phase of the application process. We’ll write to people, including local authorities, statutory parties and landowners to let them know about the application and the next steps. We’ll also publicise this in local and national newspapers. Once we’ve done that, there will be 35 days for people to register as interested parties and be involved in the process. We’ll update this page to let you know when that will be.

We’ll continue to engage with the local community throughout the application process and beyond. This will include technical engagement with the relevant officers in the local authorities (Bedford Borough Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council) and their elected members, as well as Parish Councils along the route of the proposed scheme.

We’ll also hold public information events to keep people informed as things progress – we’ll share details of these events on this website and on our social media pages:

A428 Black Cat logo