Westminster Social Policy Forum

For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us: +44 (0)1344 864796.

Next steps for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

Morning, Monday, 13th May 2024


This conference will assess next steps for the Nationally Significant Infrastructure regime and proposed reforms to the consenting process.


It will bring stakeholders and policymakers together to examine the potential impact on current and future infrastructure needs, following the Government’s recent response to DLUHC’s consultation Operational reforms to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) consenting process published in 2023, and as Government conducts a Review into the planning and delivery of major infrastructure projects which is expected to be published this summer and will look at whether NSIPs are held up by inappropriate legal challenges.


Delegates will assess whether proposed changes can succeed in the aim of making the consenting process quicker, fairer and more resilient, and what reform will look like in practice, including:

  • strengthening the role of pre-application and ensuring consultation is effective and proportionate
  • improving the performance of the Government’s expert bodies, including engagement with local authorities and communities

Discussion will consider regulatory priorities for NSIPs moving forward, the impact of consultation processes on investment and business planning, and maximising potential community benefits.


Looking at strategies and policy developments to improve the effectiveness and resilience of the planning system in meeting the demand for critical infrastructure, delegates will assess the likely impact of proposed reforms on cultural heritage and the environment, as well as progress on net zero targets, including in the context of wider developments such as the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 and the Energy Act 2023.


Further sessions will discuss the impact of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) on planning regulation, with BNG mandatory from February 2024.


We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Beth Corbould, Director, RAPID and Environmental Planning, Ofwat; Jon Loveday, Director of Infrastructure, Enterprise and Growth, Infrastructure and Projects Authority; and Pauleen Lane, Professional Lead for Infrastructure, Planning Inspectorate.


Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • NSIP reform: assessing proposals for NSIP consenting reform and the Government’s response - next steps for implementation - regulatory priorities 
  • Fast track system: how it would work in practice - strategies for ensuring that appropriate scrutiny and safeguarding are not compromised - potential impact on the eligibility of current and future projects 
  • Regulation: legal challenges presented by the NSIP consenting process and potential implications for reform - clarity, guidance and strategic direction for stakeholders 
  • Collaboration and coordination: collaborative frameworks for project partners and local stakeholders - coordination of development with wider policy priorities for levelling up and net zero
  • Infrastructure providers: managing the impact of the consenting processes on investment and business planning - learning from challenges and best practice
  • Engagement: supporting involvement of communities, local authorities and consultees in early stages of planning - maximising potential for local benefit - allowing sufficient time comment upon projects
  • Environment: impact on the natural environment and the role of environmental impact reports - implementation of BNG legislation - conservation and stewardship - strategies for decarbonisation
  • Legal: legal challenges presented by the planning and delivery of major infrastructure projects and finding effective resolutions - meeting international obligations - streamlining the NSIP regime and building on wider government reform
  • Policy: alternative approaches to increasing efficiency and streamlining processes - further potential for reforms on participation

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DAERA, NI; DBT; Defra; DESNZ; Department for Economy, NI; DfI, NI; DfT; DLUHC; DSIT; EA; Geospatial Commission; GLD; DfE; GBN; HM Treasury; HSE; Home Office; MMO; NAO; NIC; OEP; ORR; Ofwat; PEDW; Planning Inspectorate; The Scottish Government; UKIB; and the Welsh Government.



Keynote Speakers

Jon Loveday

Director of Infrastructure, Enterprise and Growth, Infrastructure and Projects Authority

Beth Corbould

Director, RAPID and Environmental Planning, Ofwat

Keynote Speakers

Jon Loveday

Director of Infrastructure, Enterprise and Growth, Infrastructure and Projects Authority

Beth Corbould

Director, RAPID and Environmental Planning, Ofwat

Pauleen Lane

Professional Lead for Infrastructure, Planning Inspectorate

Chair

Lord Berkeley

Member, House of Lords Built Environment Committee

Speakers

Julian Boswall

Partner, Burges Salmon

Alister Kratt

Director, LDA Design