Public needs a clear voice in infrastructure plans

Monday 22 September 2014

Infrastructure legislation must include better public consultation if major infrastructure projects are to progress successfully.
 
These are the conclusions of a pamphlet produced by Green Alliance’s [1] Green Social Democracy project, whose advisory group includes Labour shadow ministers and advisers [2]. The pamphlet argues that the renewal of transport and energy systems in the UK can’t be delivered if the government continues to follow the traditional route of low level engagement with the public and proposes amendments to Sir John Armitt’s proposed legislation on infrastructure.
It proposes two new levels of intervention to include a public voice the planning process:
 
  • a stakeholder council: providing broad civil society input into the national infrastructure assessment and  subsequent reviews, as well as overseeing the localised public dialogues;
  • city and county infrastructure dialogues: providing cross-sectoral input to  infrastructure planning, via dialogues that include local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, civil society and local communities.
 
“ Britain’s infrastructure needs to change significantly over the next decade to become both smarter and greener. This cannot be something which is ‘done to’ people, it must be done by and with the people of this country, in everyone’s interest. This paper seeks to set out the way in which the public mandate for low carbon infrastructure can be strengthened so we can build out the infrastructure we need.”
Chi Onwurah MP
 
“ Opening up decision making can be an intimidating prospect, but it will be richer as a result. And this bold step is essential if we are to deliver the infrastructure our country urgently requires to meet citizens’ needs, remain competitive and help us tackle climate change.”
Huw Irranca-Davies MP
 
“With all parties committed to providing more power at a local level, we have a real opportunity to ensure our low carbon infrastructure is decided and delivered in a more exciting way for the country.”
Alastair Harper, head of politics at Green Alliance
 
 
Green social democracy: building a public mandate for infrastructure is a produced under Green Alliance’s Green Roots programme, exploring environmental challenges from the perspectives of the three main political traditions in the UK.
 
Pamphlets from the Green liberalism and Green conservatism projects will follow.
 
 
For more information, contact Alastair Harper on aharper@green-alliance.org.uk , or 07903966635
 
Ends 
 
Notes to editors
 
[1] Green Alliance is a charity and environmental think tank focused on ambitious leadership for the environment. www.green-alliance.org.uk 
 
[2] Advisory group members include Rushanara Ali MP, Natan Doran, Huw Irranca-Davies MP, Michael Jacobs, Chi Onwurah MP, Dr Matthew Lockwood, Andrew Pakes, Simon Roberts, Joan Ruddock MP, Melanie Smallman, Will Straw and Jake Sumner.