Last week saw Freshwater’s conference division, Waterfront Conference Company, stage a two-day NSIP (Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project) Applications Masterclass. The event welcomed more than 120 delegates, made up of project promoters, local authorities and senior planning professionals, to share lessons on how to navigate the complex NSIP application process.
Day one kicked off with an update on the current planning regime, with delegates hearing from Mark Southgate, director for major applications and plans at the Planning Inspectorate, and Matt Prior, major infrastructure planning team leader at the Department for Communities and Local Government.
Prospective applicants heard about the trends and issues emerging in the relatively young system and the changes that might be introduced to the process following the 2014 review. The all-important pre-application stage was also discussed, and advice was shared on how to avoid potential pitfalls during the application process, from legal issues over land to disputes about the environmental impact of a project.
Day two focused on the pre-acceptance phase of an application; what to expect from the six month examination process and how best to prepare. Delegates also heard about the experiences of those who had already been through the NSIPs process, including a presentation from Tim Norwood, chief planning officer for New Nuclear Builds at EDF Energy, on EDF’s application for their project, Hinkley Point C.
The aim of the conference was to provide delegates with an in-depth understanding of the NSIPs application process, and crucially, the best ways to ensure project success.
Greg Dickson, a senior planner at Turley Associates, described the event as “very informative and thought provoking.” He added: “The speakers were very knowledgeable about the process and provided delegates with best practical advice and tips.”
Alexandra De Keyser, a project counsel from Horizon Nuclear Power, said the event was “excellent”, and that she walked away with “a lot of useful insights and updates based on practical experience.”