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Lord Banner KC to lead review on national infrastructure

Top planning barrister, (Lord) Charles Banner KC, will lead an independent review to look into speeding up the delivery of major infrastructure projects.

The review builds on wider government reforms to streamline the process for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), which are often held up by legal barriers and judicial reviews.

Banner, assisted by fellow barrister Nick Grant, will explore whether NSIPs are unduly held up by inappropriate legal challenges, and if so what are the main reasons and how the problem can be effectively resolved, whilst guaranteeing the constitutional right to access of justice and meeting the UK’s international obligations.

Even unsuccessful challenges can set major projects back years in delays. This includes new road improvements, offshore wind farms and waste water management facilities.

Housing Minister, Lee Rowley said: “It is vitally important that we use every tool at our disposal to slash unnecessary planning delays and accelerate building where it is needed across the country.

“That is why I am delighted that (Lord) Banner will lead a review on how we can speed up the delivery of national infrastructure in the face of costly legal challenges. I look forward to the outcome of this crucial piece of work.”

(Lord) Charles Banner KC said: “I am looking forward to analysing the information available, as well as the feedback from key stakeholders, to ascertain whether, within the terms of reference, there is a case for improving the process for legal challenges of NSIPs in a way that would reduce any identified impacts of inappropriate legal challenges whilst maintaining constitutional principles and relevant international obligations.”

Banner is a leading expert in planning and environmental regulation. He has already demonstrated excellent work for the Government on a number of panels, such as chairing the UK’s nature conservation advisory body the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

As part of the review, Banner will produce a written report with recommendations based upon the review’s research and engagement with key stakeholders.

This review was announced at the Autumn Statement in the policy paper ‘Getting Great Britain building again: Speeding up infrastructure delivery’. It is expected to take 3 months and the Government will consider the recommendations once published.

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