Can Labour Balance Their Push for Faster Infrastructure Approvals?

In their manifesto, Labour have said they would make changes to planning policy so that the time taken to approve new roads, railways, reservoirs, and other nationally significant infrastructure would be substantially reduced. However, it’s difficult to see how infrastructure approvals could be sped up without either reducing public involvement or limiting the environmental considerations given to decisions, both of which may require primary legislation.

Of course, it could always be expedited by government departments working more efficiently and quickly once applications are submitted and public inquiries are held!

The country’s productivity has been held back for so long by the uncertainty inherent in the process of planning and delivering major infrastructure. Few investors are prepared to take the risks associated with such a protracted process.

But with Rachel Reeves’ commitment to growth and for it to be funded by the private sector, changes will be needed quickly to reduce this risk. The current slow pace deters investment and hampers economic progress. Streamlining the approval process would signal to investors that the UK is serious about modernising its infrastructure and fostering economic growth.

“Getting consent for major infrastructure in the UK can often take 3 to 4 years. With the next election only five years away, the labour government needs to move very quickly to incentivise the private sector and to ensure that there is a pipeline of new infrastructure being delivered before the next election”

Allen Creedy, EP Director

Labour’s proposed changes to planning policy aims to accelerate the process for critical infrastructure approvals, thereby boosting productivity and encouraging private sector investment. However, achieving these goals will require a careful balance of efficiency, public involvement, and environmental considerations.

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