On Thursday 23 February, the government published its action plan to deliver reforms across government to improve the planning system for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). This includes ensuring that the system can support future infrastructure needs by making the system better, faster, greener, fairer, and more resilient. The action plan sets out the issues with the current system and the evidence base for reform, as well as detailing five reform areas.
This includes setting a clear strategic direction for infrastructure planning; operational reform to support a faster consenting process; realising better outcomes for the natural environment; recognising the role of local communities and strengthening engagement; and building a more diverse and resilient resourcing model. With regards to the reform around better outcomes for the natural environment, the government noted its plans to implement a new Offshore Wind Environmental Improvement Package to accelerate the delivery of new offshore wind infrastructure while ensuring appropriate consideration of environmental impacts. The government intends to consult in spring 2023 on some of the key aspects of the reforms.