Working together to support clients through change

Copper has announced that it has become part of the RSK family. Martin McCrink and Ben Heatley look at what working with RSK means for the company’s future direction and the positive impact it can have. 

The world is facing a series of challenges – the race to reach net zero, the cost of living crisis and enhancing  economic prosperity. 

Responding to these interlinked crises will require substantial changes to how we work and live, and what we expect from the organisations and companies we interact with. 

From the way our water will be used, stored and recycled, our homes are heated, the way we travel, to where we work and the types of houses we can live in. But closer to home, we’re likely to see changes in our landscape – with new types of renewable energy generation, new nuclear power, hydrogen facilities and pipelines. High speed rail will continue to be developed and new ways of travelling around cities will emerge. 

These changes have the potential to make all our lives more sustainable and to boost productivity and prosperity. But change needs to be explained. In order to maximise the opportunity of change it needs to be well understood, and the people that will be affected need to see that decisions are being taken with their input.  

We’ve seen many progressive projects get stuck in planning or financial approval because the political will is not there. This is often caused by a lack of public understanding and acceptance – a currency politicians need to rely on. 

Copper’s expertise is in helping to build this awareness, understanding and acceptance of change. We deliver measurable impact for clients. For more than 25 years, we’ve helped pave the way for some of the most ambitious, society-changing projects UK-wide and supported clients corporately to achieve their business objectives.  

We have supported clients including National Grid, National Highways, RWE, Vattenfall, Orsted, Rolls-Royce, Cadent, Western Power Distribution, ScottishPower, HS2, as well as various branches of Government to explain their ambitions, address concerns, and enhance their reputations. 

We’re at the centre of explaining change. Copper’s partnership with RSK is an exciting opportunity because RSK’s expertise, experience, global presence and focus on environmental solutions allows Copper to offer a more complete service, informed by thousands of technical experts who are at the heart of realising a more sustainable future.  

RSK and its specialist businesses are central to delivering the change we need as a country, and together we will be able to provide a more complete service, bringing together Copper’s industry leading strategic communications, with RSK’s expert technical knowledge. 

Working with RSK, we can help more clients navigate change in a more effective way, removing barriers to delivery, supporting our clients even more effectively, and ultimately supporting them to deliver their visions for positive change. 

Copper’s programme of webinars with experts across our industry is continuing with a bumper September.

From freeports and decarbonisation to data and local transport, we’ll be joined by some fantastic panellists.

Thursday 08 September, 12.30pm: The future of infrastructure – what can we learn from other industries about data?

Join us for a panel discussion bringing together experts from outside the infrastructure industry to look at what applications, techniques and thinking we can borrow to better use data to understand our audiences and connect us with the people that infrastructure serves. Sign up here.

Tuesday 13 September, 2pm: Preparing to shift gears – accelerating the delivery of local transport schemes

The latest in our sustainable travel webinar series where we’ll discuss the next steps for transport projects in the UK, including how to overcome barriers to delivery and a shift away from large, strategic transport projects to local schemes. Sign up here.

Wednesday 14 September, 11am: Decarbonising the built environment – exploring the role construction plays in the race to net zero

A panel made up of several disciplines and hosted by the Green Alliance, we’ll unpack changing policy, whole-life carbon, greening roads and net zero targets and what it means for the construction industry. Sign up here.

Thursday 15 September, 11am: Freeports – what’s next for government’s flagship idea

Government’s plans for freeports are set to create national hubs for global trade and investment, hotbeds for innovation and an opportunity to level up communities around the UK. Successful freeport bidders are now creating business cases with formal designation expected later in 2022. Join us in talking to industry experts about what’s next for freeports. Sign up here.

The very words ‘airspace change consultation’ present a complicated and technical picture that will seem somewhat irrelevant for many people.

With the forthcoming airspace change coming for many airports around the UK, we’re giving our key considerations, challenges and top tips to cut through the noise and make consultations as straight-forward and useful as possible.

 

Key considerations

Airspace change consultations are a requirement. This immediately puts engagement in risk of being run haphazardly, or as a tick-box exercise or afterthought with little thought about the audience.

The first, and most important consideration, is that a consultation is an opportunity to build relationships with your local stakeholders.

Instead of viewing this as a task, flip the script and get excited about creating new touchpoints, new collateral and vocalise the positive work you’re doing.

Consultation events present a fantastic opportunity for you to learn what people like and dislike, what matters most to the community and ultimately, to hear what they want. This point of contact doesn’t come around too often, so use it to reflect, review and revive your communications.

 

Challenges

Airspace change is confusing.

There is an abundance of technicalities that affect the operational delivery of an airport. But in reality, this will not impact your consultation attendees.

People want to know how this will affect their day-to-day life. Questions like:

          Will it be noisy over my child’s nap time?

          Will I see that plane from my favourite garden seat?

          Will I notice the difference on weekends?

We must not forget that airspace changes do affect people’s lives and it can have an impact on their everyday routines.

With that said, consultation gives you the chance to directly address these concerns. Getting people on the ground in the local communities to openly discuss, manage expectations and level concerns will go a long way to help relationships with your stakeholders. Through open dialogue and acknowledging the challenges, you can clearly set out the steps you’re taking that will mitigate adverse impacts.

 

Top tips for consultation:

  1. Technology is your friend: When it comes to something as technical as airspace change, if there is a way to present information in an engaging and exciting way, it should be worth considering. There are brilliant tools to help show changes to airspace, from interactive maps, virtual reality, and noise pollution simulations. Where possible, use it. Of course, budget dictates the art of the possible so choose where to invest.

 

  1. Visuals over written: When speaking or presenting to stakeholders on airspace change, language can sound scary.

 

  1. Plain English is key: Where possible, simplify the language to plain English and refrain from using technical jargon. When considering what ‘plain English’ looks like, a simple tip is to imagine explaining it to your family. If the information is not sensitive, you could actually ask them to read it. If they understand, great! If they don’t, more can be done to help land the messaging. If you can’t find a way of explaining in plain English, ask whether it would be better as a visual, or whether you need to include it in public-facing materials at all.

 

  1. Have people on the ground: While digital-first can streamline engagement, digital-only is a dangerous precedent to set and strips out the important relationship-building that people value and your team needs to carry out. Organising accessible and inclusive events within the local community provide opportunity for informal interaction. Through showing visual graphics, audio simulations and Q&A slots, you are opening the door to meaningful interaction with stakeholders.

 

To chat about your upcoming work and how we can help, email Sophie.Pearce@copperconsultancy.com

‘The future of urban futuring.’

This is the tagline greeting you when you visit betterstreets.ai – a simple, no-frills landing page that gets straight to the point. What founder and artist Zach Katz instead wants you to focus on is what he’s offering; a unique window into a world no longer burdened by clogged-up road networks, dangerous pedestrian footpaths and unsightly roadworks.

We held our first Active Travel Webinar in June, in which a key conversation topic was centred around ‘the battle for road space’.  From this, it was suggested by our panellists that the UK’s archaic road network was not fit for purpose to yet promote modal shift.

Moving forward with Active Travel – Copper Consultancy

 

Fans of the television show Westworld will know that Season 4 has reimagined New York City as an almost car-free city, apart from a few autonomous vehicles. The show sees characters walking through quiet pedestrianised streets dotted with plazas, green spaces and an abundance of outdoor seating; a complete juxtaposition of the New York we all know today. This high-budget, polished CGI is captivating, but what do you do when you don’t have a multi-million dollar HBO budget? And what if you want to see the same, but in Slough?

Better Streets has brilliantly highlighted the potential of our existing streets.

The AI software uses text inputs to create a unique image, transforming any traffic-laden street into a bustling pedestrian walkway, a cycle-led active travel route or a grassy tram route in seconds.

The renders aren’t perfect, but they are igniting people’s imagination and, perhaps most importantly, getting more and more people talking about the alternatives to our current travel network. As we look to further embrace multi-modal transport systems in our towns and cities, a simple and relatively cheap piece of technology such as this could be the spark needed.

Copper understands the power that visualisation can have on audiences, enabling them to engage with complex infrastructure projects and understand exactly how it may affect them. This, in turn, enables us to have honest and open conversations. We can work with you to produce animations, renders and other visual-based engagement activities to enhance your project or programme of improvements.

As Katz says: “visualising things is the most powerful way to effect change”.

 

By Pearce Branigan, Senior Account Manager.

The publication of the Government’s Jet Zero strategy marked a watershed moment for the aviation industry. The document is one of the most far-reaching and significant aviation policies published to date, adding flesh to the bones of how the industry will meet net zero by 2050.

Having supported clients to be among the 1,500 that submitted responses to the Jet Zero consultation, it was heartening to see that the UK Government had taken a bold, albeit challenging, approach. The target seeks to halve the carbon emissions produced between 2019 and 2050, with domestic flights (which comprise 4 per cent of total UK aviation emissions) being given until 2040 to achieve this. This trajectory to 2050 is based on the “high ambition” scenario, setting industry targets of:

  • 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030 – which is equivalent to the annual energy usage of five million UK homes.
  • 7 reduction year on year from 2030 to 2040, reaching 28.4 million tonnes or reduction of 7 million tonnes on 2030 limit by 2040.
  • 91 reduction year on year from 2040 to 2050, reaching 19.3 million tonnes or a 9.1 million tonnes reduction on 2040 limit by 2050.

The Government intends to implement this through an emission reduction trajectory for the industry, annually monitoring progress and undertaking bi-decadal reviews. The ambition should be welcomed, but serious consideration should be given to whether the targets themselves are achievable and what they depend on.

The five-year delivery plans will be assessed through six methods: system efficiencies; Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAFs); zero emission flights; markets and removals; influencing consumers; and addressing non-carbon emissions.

Winging it?

The Government has made great claim of its proactive approach. This has included investing £180 million in research and development for SAFs, committing to having five plants under construction by 2025, along with the introduction of zero carbon aircraft.

However, these actions only account for 21 per cent of the intended carbon reductions in the industry up to 2050. Fuel efficiency improvements for airport operations, including the maintenance and refueling of planes along with the ancillary tasks associated with aviation account for a further 15 per cent of the intended carbon reductions in the industry up to 2050.

 

 

The mainstay of the strategy is dependent on existing emissions caps in the form of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and the United Nations Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme (CORSIA), which are expected to deliver over 27 per cent of carbon reductions by 2050. The ambition is that the same (or greater) numbers of flights will occur, but improvements in technology and fuel efficiency will enable the industry not only to avoid breaching the threshold for emissions, but actually lowering them.

Although the technology is there to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, by the strategy’s own admission it is ‘dependent on technological development proceeding at the same rate’ to achieve this. There is no certainty that the required technological innovation will continue at the same rate and if it doesn’t, the UK will have to rely on other areas to cover the shortfall in emission reductions.

As for the remaining 37 per cent, this will come from abatement outside the aviation industry, with no suggestion as to who, what or how this will be achieved.

Where the buck stops

The timing of Jet Zero’s publication occurs at a significant juncture in public opinion. The looming cost of living crisis, with fuel costs rising, has dampened appetite for environmentally inclined public spending and taxes. For some, the cost associated with achieving net zero is proving unappealing.

This brewing frustration has influenced a shift in the rhetoric of the governing party over the previous 10 months. The excitement following the UK’s hosting of COP26 in October 2021 towards achieving net zero remains, but there is now a growing difference of opinion about how to get there. For example, the Foreign Secretary and Prime Ministerial candidate Liz Truss’ proposal to temporarily cut green energy levies, which is at odds with the accepted dogma of 10 months ago to increase or even impose more.

With the medical requirements to travel abroad all but rescinded, the UK population has been returning to enjoy international travel. Households already feeling the pinch of the energy crisis may become less inclined to support the drive to net zero when their annual holiday plans are impacted. Low-income families who anticipate the two-week holiday abroad as a necessity for their own mental and physical wellbeing during the working year may be at the core of future net zero scepticism, when the levies which will drive forward net zero make their yearly holidays unaffordable. This raises the question: has the drive to decarbonise aviation focussed on winning over the aviation industry, while failing to bring the public along as well?

An innovation nation

With public expenditure likely to be reduced after the significant burden of managing the UK’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government must consider alternative measures to financial investment to achieve Jet Zero. Whether easing the pathway to visas for specialists working in this area of research, or by agreeing trade deals with nations who have the materials needed to build these technologies, innovation will be key to unlocking the carbon reductions needed to meet net zero in aviation and the UK by 2050.

For the people, without the people?

The Government should ensure that they engage with the public across all net zero policies, so that their input is both credibly sought and applied. The inherent risk with the Government’s current approach of engaging separate industries and not the wider public, is that implementing a policy for the benefit of the UK population, without consulting the population, may cause their concerns to go unheeded. If no action is taken to register or address any outstanding concerns, then it may prove that sections of the population become indifferent, or even opponents of the very drive towards net zero.

 

  • Engagement with infrastructure projects across the UK is generally low, with nearly 1 in two people (49.2%) saying that they have never taken part in a consultation about local services, issues or projects. 
  • People who have lived in their property for a year or less are more likely to have taken part in a consultation within the last five months than someone who has lived at their property for 10years or more. 

Today (04 August 2022), Copper Consultancy released the final report in its latest three-part Attitudes series. The report explores the connection between “belonginess” and closeness to community with levels of engagement with infrastructure projects.  

Findings show that the closer and more connected someone feels to their community, the more likely they are to participate in consultations about local, issues, services and projects.   

The report, title ‘Does community matter?’, uses several questions to identify how close people feel to their community, including questions about how much they trust other people in their community, if people feel they can influence things locally and how actively engaged they are with their local area.  

Data shows that those who have higher levels of trust; feel they have more influence about decisions in their local area people; and report that they are active members of their local area are far more likely to engage than the national average.  

Based on a nationally representative UK sample of 4,004 respondents, 49.2% said that they never taken part in a consultation about local services, issues or projects. This figure dropped to 40.4% for people who said they trust people in their local area, dropped further (35.2%) for those who said that they feel like they have influence over things that happen in their local area, and dropped further still (20.1%) for those who said they were active members of their community.   

The report also explored If time spent living in a property contributed to engagement, with surprising results.  

Data suggests that those who have lived at their property for less than a year are the most likely to have taken part in a consultation about local services, Issues or projects. 62.2% of people surveyed who had been in their property for less than a year said that they had taken part in a local consultation within the last five months. Whereas only 14.5% of those who have lived at their property for 10 years or more said they had taken part in a local consultation within the last 5 months.  

Annabel John, Director of Strategic Communications & Creative at Copper Consultancy, reflected on the series of reports saying: “This series of reports confirmed some things that we knew, challenged some deep-rooted perceptions which we thought to be truth and uncovered insights and intelligence that will help reshape the way we engage with people and communities in support of our clients.

“The value of investing in research to better understand audiences and stakeholders cannot be overlooked and if we were to take one thing away from this work, it would be that it’s time we started communicating with people as people, taking account of their differences, traits and behaviours, rather than thinking of them as sections of the planning act.”  

You can read the full report here

Transport Committee inquiry findings

Today, the Transport Committee has released its mixed inquiry findings into the Integrated Rail Plan, the £96Bn flagship government levelling up policy which set out how Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 would be integrated to deliver a network of high speed lines across the Midlands and the North.

While the committee report does welcome the scale of the Government’s promised spending on improving rail in the North and the Midlands, it is also starkly headlined with a critical assessment of how some of the options and the benefits of these were assessed. The report states that,

“A thorough reassessment of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan is essential to ensure this once-in-a-generation investment in rail is not a missed opportunity to address regional imbalances”.

 

What is the Integrated Rail Plan?

On the back of the Oakervee review and following a final submission from the National Infrastructure Commission, a new Integrated Rail Plan for the Midlands and the North was announced in November 2021. It outlines how to develop and deliver HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, the Midlands Rail Hub, and major Network Rail Projects.

It was presented to Parliament by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps who pledged the investment would deliver faster and better journeys to more people across the North and the Midlands.

The views of the Transport for the North (TfN) Board, as one voice for the North, fed into the Integrated Rail Plan. The evidence reflected the ambition and vision of the North for the national rail network.

This work showed the vast capacity and journey time benefits that could be realised, alongside other investment in Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan, which is in the process of being refreshed.

The Sub-National Transport Body Midlands Connect also provided evidence from the Midlands region.

 

What’s next?

With such a strong cross-party call for a review by many in regional political circles and by the committee, the new Prime Minister and their departments will undoubtedly have some tough decisions to make at a time where the North is questioning some of the levelling up policies that have been rolled out.

Just yesterday, a widely circulated report by IPPR North suggested that the gap in public spending between London and the North has doubled.

This coincided with a coordinated newspaper campaign in the region warning the Conservative leadership candidates against turning their back on the North.  Eyes are also firmly on what comes next for the promised £100m study to bring HS2 trains to Leeds, with the West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin describing it as being “left in limbo”.

However, while some wider regional connectivity has been scaled back, there have also been very welcome commitments to the TransPennine Route Upgrade, with spending trebled to £9bn to deliver more comprehensive East – West electrification between Manchester and York.

Despite the large investments needed to replace our Victorian infrastructure, it is clear that there is still huge support for rail spending in turbulent times.

With both Conservative leadership candidates pledging commitments to spur on new economic growth and with the ongoing need to tackle climate change, the North’s and Midlands’ rail plans could be a good place to start.

If you want to talk to us about how we can help with your infrastructure communications, then please get in contact with James Jordan.

 

 

How do you deliver major road projects while driving towards net zero?

In our new series, The Hardest Jobs in Net Zero, we’re exploring the oxymorons of infrastructure – those roles that, on the surface, seem to be anything but sustainable.

Today, we speak to Stephen Elderkin, Director of Environmental Sustainability at National Highways, about the challenges he faces in delivering huge road building projects across the country.

“This is a huge challenge and there is so much left to be done. But I’m surrounded by great people doing great things, so I generally sleep well at night.

“And that’s what this requires, a huge joint effort across our industry, supported with the right policies. I am encouraged because I see good decisions being made and we’re moving in the right direction.”

Stephen is at the heart of National Highway’s net zero and Roads for Good efforts, which are focused on three clear milestones:

  • Net zero corporate emissions by 2030
  • Net zero across maintenance and construction divisions by 2040
  • Net zero travel across the network by 2050

Cutting corporate emissions by 2030

“80% of our corporate emissions come from electricity, so we’re investing more than £100m to swap all of our lights to LEDs,” explains Stephen.

 “We’re also moving 1,300 vehicles to electric. We also own around 30,000 hectares of land that isn’t farmed, so we’ve committed to plant three million trees. In combination, you can see we have a clear path to drive the necessary reduction in our corporate emissions.”

The hardest part – net zero construction by 2040

When it comes to road maintenance and construction, no one knows the exact solution, but it’s best to begin by understanding where emissions come from. For Stephen and the team at National Highways, there are three key areas: plant, transport and materials.

“We’ve committed to zero emission plant on site by 2030, which requires further electrification of equipment and improvements to recharging. Hydrogen is also being explored. And then we look at what we can control, such as transport. Everything delivered to our sites must be done so in zero emission HGVs by 2040.

 “Looking at materials, people tend to look at big, glamorous solutions – hydrogen powered furnaces for steel, carbon capture storage for cement kilns – but they require major investment over the long-term.”

Asking Stephen about the short-term, is a solution simply to build less?

“We look at the carbon reduction hierarchy – build nothing, build less, build smart, build efficiently – and do all we can to reach the right step for each project. Ensuring high standards of quality control, right first time to reduce rework and cutting materials through lean design are all major contributors to reducing carbon in construction.

 “Technology is also a major contributor to more productive use of our existing assets. For example, digital tools give us better control of the traffic flow. If we can move 15% more flow through our existing network, we reduce the case for needing to build more lane capacity. While that doesn’t apply everywhere of course and maintenance is still a huge requirement, digital roads of the future are an encouraging sign of efficiency, which is what net zero is really all about.”

 Net zero travel by 2050

Of the three milestones set at National Highways, this is arguably the one it cannot control. As an open access network, people will drive what they want, where they want, but the rise of electric vehicles is hugely encouraging, as Stephen explains.

“Fundamental economics have changed dramatically; batteries are 95% cheaper than they were 20 years ago and that will only continue to improve.

 “Then there’s the change in law and the overall cost of electric vehicles, which will soon drop below combustion engine vehicles, I’m sure. And the Government’s Project Rapid, which aims to improve charging infrastructure by delivering fast charging points at more locations across the country.

 “Even my wife and I fight over who gets to drive the electric car. It’s easier, quieter and smoother. Not to mention the fact it’s better for the environment.”

Behaviour is a major barrier

Considering its 2030, 2040 and 2050 targets, you might think it’s plain sailing for Stephen and the team. But there is another major barrier to achieving net zero.

“In my view, one of the toughest challenges is the need for behavioural change. Take concrete; for many, if you need two cubic metres, you mix three. Or you excavate a wider trench than you need and just fill the excess with concrete.

“We need to change this mind-set, not because it’s a cost saving exercise but because it’s a carbon saving exercise. Using quality controlled batching plants for concrete mixes can reduce the amount of carbon intensive cement, potentially saving thousands of tonnes of carbon.

“One enabler here will be seeing carbon added to contracts. Enforcing set requirements will enforce change.

Optimistic for the future

With all that said, Stephen remains optimistic for the future, citing people and innovation as encouraging signs of where we’re headed.

“I attended a partner’s company-wide conference the other day. A business you wouldn’t associate with sustainability. 3,000 people in the room. And carbon emissions was by far the biggest theme of the day.

“While it’s hugely challenging and requires a shift in mind-sets, approaches and technologies, my job isn’t the hardest in net zero because every day I see brilliant people working on brilliant ideas. I am very positive about the future and achieving our targets for the years and decades to come.”

Stephen’s experience raises an important set of questions; how do we change behaviour? What other industries require a similar shift in mind-set? And whose responsibility is it to affect change? If companies like National Highways are doing all they can (within reason) to achieve net zero, where do you draw the line between what you can and cannot control?

It’s clear that no single group can answer these questions but, like Stephen, first you identify the problem and then take steps to solve it. The question now is: are you taking the right steps and who must you influence to deliver lasting change?

Find out more about Stephen and the teams efforts to achieve net zero here.

And stay tuned to Copper’s channels for more articles in our search for The Hardest Jobs in Net Zero.

The number of business premises used for transport, logistics and warehousing in the UK has almost doubled over the past ten years.

As reported by the Financial Times, “COVID-19 has led to a surge in ecommerce and CBRE estimates that an additional 300m sq ft of warehouse space will be needed in Europe by 2025. The UK, already one of the most developed ecommerce markets in the world, will require an extra 60m sq ft of space — equivalent to 14% of existing warehouse space.”

No easy task

Logistics plays a huge role in the UK economy. It is estimated that the sector is worth £55 billion, comprising 5% of GDP and employing more than 1.7m people. With the continued growth in online shopping since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the logistics sector is poised to go from strength to strength.

The infrastructure required to deliver 60m sq ft of space is no easy task. While steps are already being taken to grow warehouse space and, with logistics one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK, it’s essential that both central and local government recognise the need for warehousing, according to the UK Warehousing Association[1].

A bigger seat at the table`

The political landscape over recent years has centred on building houses. But it’s vital that warehousing is supported across all tiers of government and treated as much a priority in planning policy, in the same way that housing and education facilities are often welcomed by local authorities to meet national targets.

While logistics infrastructure won’t ever need to take priority over housing and education, it should have a seat at the planning table. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said new orders for the construction of warehouses were worth £5.6bn in 2021, higher than in any year since 1985.

West Midlands Interchange

A key example of this is the West Midlands Interchange (WMI), being delivered by Logistics Capital Partners (LCP) and Oxford Properties. WMI is A DCO approved development site, with consent to develop a strategic rail freight interchange in the West Midlands and deliver up to 8 million sq ft of Class A Logistics warehousing, in the middle of the so-called logistics “golden triangle”. 

The development is centrally located in the UK, northwest of Birmingham in the key West Midlands logistics corridor. It will deliver significant economic benefit to the region by creating 8,500 jobs and a further 8,100 indirect jobs. It is also expected to generate around £430 million of local economic activity and, through the supply chain, more than £900 million of economic activity nationally each year.

Soon to be the largest logistics site in the UK, it will showcase what can be delivered to support the industry and economy.

How do you generate public support for logistics developments?

Achieving widespread public support for logistics and warehousing is not easy. Local residents and community groups need to be engaged with at the earliest opportunity when it comes to building new infrastructure.

The visual impact on the landscape is always going to be a key factor when considering support for a development, particularly one that includes significant warehouse space and an entirely new road network to support vehicle movements.

Developments such as WMI are working to deliver multimodal access to support net zero targets, and have engaged with local councillors and community groups. Considering environmental and local impacts, aesthetics and access is intrinsic to success.

So what steps can you take?  

  1. Early engagement: Talk to local communities, prior to planning application submission
  2. Community input: Allowing local communities some autonomy and input into design features such as community parks or local area improvements
  3. Tell the story: Ensure you tell a clear story about the project – its benefits to the local economy, employment opportunity, net zero aims, traffic management and how you will minimise construction disruption

In conclusion, while large scale infrastructure developments will never be universally popular, they are essential to the backbone of our economy. Inadequate infrastructure negatively impacts the UK and will reduce the efficiency of the logistics sector.

It is vital that infrastructure is in place to support new warehousing and logistics facilities to meet post-COVID demand. Managing public support is a necessity for success in this world and community engagement must be at the forefront of plans.

[1] https://www.ukwa.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Savills-UKWA-A4-8pp-Report-Interactive3.pdf