NIPA Insights II

May 23, 2019

NIPA Insights II: Launch of the second report into the role of flexibility in the effective delivery of National Infrastructure Projects, Wednesday 22nd May 2019

At an interesting and engaging Annual General Meeting in the Chancery Lane offices of WSP last night, the second NIPA Insights II report into the role of flexibility in the effective delivery of better National Infrastructure Projects was launched.

Introducing the report, Keith Mitchell, NIPA Insights Project Lead, referred to the in-depth research into Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects now completed or under construction on which the report has been based, (undertaken by the Bartlett School of Planning, UCL), and the extensive engagement with NIPA members and stakeholders (promoters, statutory consultees, community representatives, MHCLG and PINS) which has informed the development of the final report and its recommendations. He also explained the key themes of the report, including:

  • The important role of consultation and engagement in building trust with stakeholders about deferred decision making processes, and
  • The need for a rigorous and transparent process for embedding flexibility in the assessment, the consent, and establishing mutually beneficial arrangements for refining scheme design through the delivery of the project.

The report makes recommendations about both of these key aspects, and puts forward a proposal for a web-based flexibility toolkit to support participants in the DCO process to deliver better national infrastructure projects. This will form the centre piece of the next phase on NIPA’s work in this area.

In welcoming the report, NIPA Council Chairman, Steve Norris said that it should be an essential read for the senior management teams of both existing and new entrants into the DCO process, providing important information about how to optimise the planning, authorisation and delivery of national infrastructure projects, for the benefit both of the promoter and affected communities.

Dr Pauleen Lane, (Head of Professional Services for Infrastructure, Planning Inspectorate), who was guest speaker speaking at the AGM, welcomed the report and the opportunity given to the Inspectorate to engage in its preparation.

The report was commended to NIPA members and stakeholders, and a process of engagement is proposed to stimulate discussion about the recommendations, its underpinning research, and the future development of the toolkit.