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Infrastructure Planning (Water Resources) (England) Order 2019


These regulations update criteria that classify certain projects as a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP).

NSIP thresholds for the construction or alteration of reservoirs, dams and water resource transfer infrastructure are increased. Desalination plants in England or the waters adjacent to England with a deployable output above 80 million litres per day also become NSIPs.



The Infrastructure Planning (Water Resources) (England) Order 2019 amended the Planning Act 2008 in England on 9 January 2019.

What has been updated?

The criteria for when projects are considered a ‘nationally significant infrastructure project’ (NSIP) in the field of water resources has been changed.

Reservoirs and Dams

To constitute a NSIP, the ‘hold back’ capacity of dams and reservoirs provided must exceed 30 million cubic meters or the deployable output (e.g. the annual average volume of water produced per day) must exceed 80 million litres per day. NSIP thresholds will apply either in terms of new construction or in the form of additional capacity added through alteration.

Transfer of Water Resources

Developments for the transfer of water resources will constitute a NSIP if the deployable output constructed or added through alteration to an existing system will exceed 80 million litres per day.

Desalination Plants

Desalination plants in England or in waters adjacent to England can now constitute a NSIP if their deployable output exceeds 80 million litres per day.


The Planning Act 2008 established a system of centralised development consenting for infrastructure projects designated as nationally significant.



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