IEMA responded in September to the UK government’s consultation on the details of the operational reforms it is looking to make to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) consenting process as put forward in the NSIP reform action plan (February 2023).
In its consultation response, IEMA welcomed many aspects of the proposals for operational reforms to the NSIP consenting process. The institute recognised that the demands of the system are changing, and the government’s National Infrastructure Strategy (2020) and British Energy Security Strategy (2022) both called for the infrastructure consenting process to be made better, faster and greener.
IEMA welcomed proposals to improve and strengthen consultation and engagement with communities and councils, which will put them at the heart of the decision-making processes. It is also supportive of reforms that aim to make the process more transparent and easier for all stakeholders to navigate and, crucially from IEMA’s point of view, to ensure that consultation and environmental requirements are ‘proportionate and clearly understood’.
IEMA also called for the strengthening of public sector capacity and resources. It welcomed acknowledgement of capacity and competency constraints within the public sector, and recommended that a long-term and systematic approach is taken to improve capacity and competency through investment in staffing, recruitment, training, guidance and salary benchmarking to ensure adequate provision of competent experts.
You can read IEMA’s full NSIP consultation response at www.bit.ly/NSIP-response