The Bartlett School of Planning


Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs)

A major interdisciplinary study of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) for generating low carbon energy.

Wind farm at dawn

2 November 2022

The project investigated evidence and 'publics' within the statutory decision-making processes for England & Wales. The research was conducted between the summer of 2015 and December 2017 and our team has written a series of academic publications and public reports. We continue to share our work publicly, especially with people working in law, planning, and government. For a summary of the work and its results:

The research

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) are large development projects, such as Transport Routes, Power Stations or Wind Farms. NSIPs can only be built when they are approved by a Government Minister. The government's Planning Inspectorate holds an examination for applications to develop an NSIP and advises the minister about whether to grant permission. This study asks: how are the concerns and aspirations of the public handled in the decision-making system for NSIPs? 

Members of the public have opportunities to make written statements and speak at hearings for NSIP examinations, and local communities often do participate. Therefore examinations may involve a diversity of individuals and groups of people ('publics' for short). However, the Planning Inspectorate must also consider government policy for low carbon energy. In addition, the NSIPs examinations involve development professionals and organisations. Earlier work has demonstrated that communities' views are framed as evidence for decision-making, and that this is problematic in various ways. Please download our Public Information Sheet.

This NSIPs Research was conducted by an interdisciplinary team from UCL, including the Bartlett School of Planning, the Faculty of Laws, and the Department of Science & Technology Studies (STS). We were awarded funding for this work by the Economic & Social Research Council or ESRC.


The UCL NSIPs Research produced a series of academic publications and public reports, and all of this output is available here on this website. Public records are free to download (see sidebar link 'Records') and academic publications are shown with links to more information including any downloadable versions of them (see sidebar link 'Publications'). 

Our team made recommendations about how to improve decision-making for NSIPs, in order to better hear and take account of the views of communities affected by them. We have set up twitter @UCL_NSIPs and the hashtag #NSIPs_Results to share updates.


Funded by the ESRC