Morning, Monday, 18th March 2024
This conference will examine next steps for infrastructure planning in Wales.
It follows the introduction of the Infrastructure (Wales) Bill into the Senedd in June 2023 and the publication of the UK Government’s Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) reforms: action plan in February 2023.
Discussion will focus on the planning and authorisation process for major infrastructure projects, including:
- options for accelerating the delivery of NSIPs across Wales
- achieving faster consent for projects, including streamlining the overall application process - the likely impact of proposals in the Bill to unify the system into one process of Infrastructure Consent (IC)
- reducing environmental impact and taking into account biodiversity considerations
- the role of local authorities - the impact of reform proposals on council resources
- strengthening community engagement with significant infrastructure projects, amidst concerns that proposals in the Bill reduce transparency and public involvement
Delegates will consider implications for current and future projects of proposed reforms by both the Welsh and UK Governments.
There will be discussion on whether reforms can address delays to the consenting of projects, reduce costs and how the proposed new regimes will assist in meeting Wales’ net zero targets, specifically in the development of renewable energy infrastructure and sustainable travel.
We are pleased to be able to include a keynote session with: Victoria Robinson, Chief Planning Inspector, Planning and Environment Decisions Wales.
Sessions in the agenda include:
- priorities: meeting longer-term economic and environmental infrastructure needs in Wales - next steps for NSIP reform
- assessing proposed reform: implications for stakeholders and NSIP rollout - streamlining the consenting process - greater certainty for applicants - supporting delivery of wider net zero ambitions
- addressing key challenges: infrastructure development skills and resourcing issues - obtaining consent - overcoming the planning application backlog - delivering system improvement
- communities and the environment: safeguarding environmental protection standards - biodiversity considerations - ensuring development and land use is in the public interest - high levels of local authority and public engagement
- funding: financing infrastructure projects - attracting investment in Wales
- UK-wide context: recent reform to the national planning policy - implications for infrastructure projects in Wales
- policy: current infrastructure consent process in Wales - the future of NSIPs
The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from the Welsh Government; PEDW; Defra; DESNZ; and The Scottish Government.