Greater speed and clarity in the planning process are essential to deliver the infrastructure the UK needs to thrive in the 21st century.
ICE Director General Tom Foulkes delivered this message to an audience of academics, civil representatives and industry professionals at the Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum seminar - The Implementationand impact of the Planning Act 2008.
Foulkes welcomed the Infrastructure Planning Commission and the Planning Act as part of a more efficient planning process for major infrastructure projects. He stressed the important role of the National Policy Statements(NPSs) to provide clear forwardthinking policy for infrastructure, saying it is vital the UK gets “strategic about infrastructure.”
“This country needs major new infrastructure developments to enable us all to thrive in the 21st century. So we have got to speed up the process, we have got to reduce the uncertainty about the outcome and indeed the coststhat are associated with that, and we have also got to increase the clarity of future government intentions for the infrastructure world.”
Chair of the Infrastructure Planning Commission Sir Michael Pitt also spoke about the importance of having a strategic vision for infrastructure based around the formulation of the NPSs, saying successive governments had failed to plan for the nation’s infrastructure.
“It seems to me that the preparation of National Policy Statements is an absolute obligation on all governments and should have been in the past, these things should have been written decades ago so that we would have been much better prepared than we are currently at the moment.”
Other speakers at the event included the Shadow Minister, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, and representatives from RTPI, British Wind Energy Association and Friends of the Earth as well as industry organisations Bircham Dyson Bell and Balfour Beatty Management.