The Government’s National Infrastructure Plan; how can stakeholder engagement support it?
15 January 2015, Blog
At the beginning of December, the Government announced the National Infrastructure Plan 2014, a scheme that aims to deliver billions of pounds of investment into housing, flood defences and road networks across the UK. It is expected to contribute £460 billion worth of public and private investment by the end of the decade and beyond.
Such a huge investment begs the question; how is this going to affect us? By us, we mean the public. In order to implement such a wide-reaching and ambitious plan, the government will need to engage with the public.
Here are five ways the stakeholder industry could help the plan:
- The scheme sets out to directly commission, build and even sell homes. If it is to succeed and comply with the National Planning Policy Framework, it will need a considerable amount of support to effectively engage with the development areas.
- It may be more effective to create a national narrative for the purpose of the National Infrastructure Plan, to help make the reason and need for the development clear.
- The plan is committing £2.3 billion of capital investment to flood defences across the UK, meaning 300,000 homes will be better protected from flooding along with acres of potential development land, including prime flood-affected areas such as Somerset, Oxford and the Humber Estuary. Perhaps engagement at an early stage with the Environment Agency could lead to an agreement about how to develop flood-prone areas while complying with flood development guidance.
- The plan also outlines the largest package of improvements ever undertaken for the road network, including £15 billion of investment. Over 1,300 miles of new lanes will be added across the country under the next parliament. This will again improve access to more land, making it more easily developed for residential and business use, and benefit the economy in the process. It will also need careful communication and engagement with neighbours affected by the development and concerned about the impact, as has been seen along the proposed HS2 route.
- The National Infrastructure Plan should have a National Engagement Plan to support it. Anyone who has followed major infrastructure development in this country knows that objections and political interference can hold big projects back for years or even decades. JBP’s advice to Government is to engage early and often, and have a coherent national strategy to show how it fits together from the start.
Written by Account Executive, Alex Watson.