Climate, People, Places, Value... Infrastructure?

The National Infrastructure Commission has released its 'Design Principles for National Infrastructure', which sets out guidance on four key elements that should be considered in all new significant infrastructure development:

  1. Climate: Mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change

  2. People: Reflect what society wants and share benefits widely

  3. Places: Provide a sense of identity and improve our environment

  4. Value: Achieve multiple benefits and solve problems well

Professor Sadie Morgan, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Design Panel notes that "nationally significant infrastructure projects have never shared a design vision".

The principles set out in the recent document are designed to help developers consider the legacy of their infrastructure, and how good design taking into account the four key elements can help achieve a positive outcome for the country.

The team at Thirty4/7 Communications was particularly interested to note the emphasis placed on People. Many of the aspirations set out in the document chime with the core principles that we think about when devising a consultation and engagement programme for our clients.

"The range of views of communities affected by the infrastructure must be taken into account and reflected in the design. While it won’t always be possible to please everyone, engagement should be diverse, open and sincere, addressing inevitable tensions in good faith and finding the right balance."

Another key theme running through the Design Principles is the expectation that developers will 'Engage Meaningfully' - another key tenet of any consultation process, whether its for a DCO, DNS, or TCPA. Without demonstrating meaningful engagement and consultation (i.e. has feedback actually shaped the plans in any way?), there is a very real chance that an application wont be accepted by the Planning Inspectorate or local planning authority.

There is clearly a growing desire from communities, industry and government to see well designed infrastructure that positively contributes to daily life and climate change - this document helps to crystallize some of the key considerations.

Understanding how to actively and effectively involve the communities within which new infrastructure is being developed is difficult task, but one that the Thirty 4/7 Communications team is well versed. Let us know if you'd like to discuss a project, we're always pleased to chat infrastructure!