The Bartlett School of Planning


Ben Clifford and Janice Morphet to Lead NIPA Infrastructure Research Project

21 September 2016

National Infrastructure Planning Association

The Bartlett School of Planning's Dr Ben Clifford and Visiting Professor Janice Morphet have been appointed to lead a team of academic researchers on the National Infrastructure Planning Association's NIPA Insights research project. NIPA Insights is a programme of research designed to examine current trends and issues in the consenting of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPS).

A key issue for the current National Infrastructure Planning Association (NIPA) membership is whether Development Consent Orders (DCO) are becoming too detailed at the expense of flexibility and thus stymying innovation in design and construction, adding to costs and deterring some investors from using the DCO process.

To examine this issue further, Dr Clifford and Professor Morphet will collate robust evidence of the purported trend itself, and how this is affecting stakeholders in the process and whether this is something that regulators, Local Planning Authorities, local communities and statutory consultees are worried about. The research team will be supported by a Stakeholder Group from the wider NIPA membership.

The research will aim to identify whether there is an optimal point at which the need to protect our communities and our environment can be balanced with clarity and transparency, effectiveness of decision-making, flexibility, innovation and cost effectiveness.

The involvement of industry, government, regulatory and community stakeholders will be an important factor in achieving this optimal point. The research team invites any representations on the appropriateness and impact of the current level of detail in the DCO process to be made to insights@nipa-org.uk by 31st October 2016.

NIPA anticipates that the findings will prove useful for policy-makers and other stakeholders involved both in this vital area of infrastructure activity, and in planning more broadly.

A final report will be published in March 2017.

About NIPA

The National Infrastructure Planning Association was created to develop and disseminate learning and best practice for both promoters and those affected by proposed nationally significant infrastructure projects. 

NIPA provides a forum for those with an interest in the planning and authorisation of major infrastructure projects in the UK, particularly those brought forward within the framework of the Planning Act 2008.