Copper Consultancy, the specialist infrastructure and communications engagement agency, has appointed Ronan Cloud to lead its Economic Development practice.

As a seasoned corporate communications strategist, Ronan brings a wealth of industry and stakeholder engagement expertise to the growing Economic Development team. Ronan joins Copper from Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading public relations firms, where he advised multinational organisations and governing bodies in his role as Director.

The Economic Development practice helps public and private sector partners deliver a diverse portfolio of projects through stakeholder engagement and strategic communications. The recently announced levelling up strategy and the UK’s net zero by 2050 target are two drivers of continued growth for the practice.

In response to demand for its specialist services, Copper has added a number of senior hires over the past six months. As the latest, Ronan brings experience of working with global organisations to solve complex challenges in the energy, construction, manufacturing and technology industries.

“Copper is at the coal face of delivering the UK’s ambitious plans for a prosperous and sustainable future,” said Ronan. “There has never been more opportunity to shape the country’s economy as we emerge from the pandemic and attention turns to a net zero future and levelling up the nation. I’m delighted to join the team at this exciting time.”

In his role, Ronan will be responsible for supporting Copper’s existing client portfolio, as well as expanding both its offering and network.

“Since its inception, the Economic Development practice has evolved to serve the needs of the changing political landscape,” said Martin McCrink, managing partner at Copper. “Ronan’s expertise and enthusiasm makes him a huge asset for Copper. Under his leadership, we’re excited to take on increasingly diverse client challenges.”

Founded 25 year ago, Copper Consultancy is dedicated to delivering strategic communications to support clients in the development of economic and social infrastructure.

Copper continues to expand and is currently recruiting across all job levels in its London, Bristol and Birmingham offices. To explore its latest openings, please visit www.copperconsultancy.com/join-us/.

Copper Consultancy, the specialist infrastructure engagement and consultation agency, has today launched Solar Lite, a new repeatable, highly efficient and impactful platform to support consultation and engagement for large scale solar schemes.

Solar Lite uses a standardised methodology for both DCO and TCPA consultation and engagement, allowing developers and promoters to increase the speed, efficiency and certainty of statutory pre-submission activity.

It enables developers of single sites to access an established engagement toolkit to reduce the time it takes to submit their application and reduce cost. Developers with multiple site portfolios can benefit even more by rolling out a consistent communications template across all of their sites, enabling them to build once, use many times.

Using an industry leading approach to digital first engagement and communications, Solar Lite has been developed to drive engagement, meaningful consultation and advocacy, to achieve the best outcomes for local people, stakeholders and developers.

Discussing the launch, Sam Cranston, Director of Energy Infrastructure at Copper Consultancy said: “We are on the cusp of a decade of solar development. If the Government is going to reach its net zero targets, then large scale solar projects will play an essential part. However, they must be delivered as quickly, cost effectively and efficiently as possible. Solar Lite has been developed as a suite of resources and services to meet these criteria, helping developers go from identification of potential sites to energy generation as effectively as possible.”

Copper has over 25 years of delivering impactful engagement and compliant consultation for energy projects.

Solar Lite is based on our experience supporting over 40 DCO projects, 100% of which have been accepted for examination by PINS and 100% of which have gone on to be consented by the Secretary of State. We have also achieved consent for numerous developments via TCPA planning.

Copper has worked alongside some of the most significant companies in the UK energy market, including National Grid, RWE, Vattenfall, SSE Renewables and Ecotricity, and we are currently supporting a number of solar schemes through the planning process.

Find our Solar Lite brochure here

Copper has expanded its senior team to provide transport clients with ever increasingly valuable insight, strategy and delivery. A new transport focused Senior Management Team is delivering industry leading communication and stakeholder engagement, on some of the country’s most exciting infrastructure projects. 

The new hires bring senior expertise and experience to Copper from across the communications, construction, consenting and town planning sectors. 

Copper brings together a blended set of skills, the latest knowledge and best practice on planning policies, along with a strong creative flair. This is a combination that will deliver our clients engaging and innovative communications to enhance stakeholder engagement and achieve desired outcomes for projects. 

  • Tom Bennett joins from Amey, heading up  Copper’s diverse portfolio of highways schemes as Associate Director.  
  • Josh Hodder joins from National Highways bringing his experience of leading conversations with communities, politicians and the media.
  • Laura Nelson joins from Amey and brings branding, campaign and engagement expertise based on customer insight diagnostics. 
  • Gemma Lloyd joins Atkins and brings expertise in communicating complexity to diverse customers. 

With a long-term vision to change the way people think and feel about infrastructure, Tom, Josh, Laura and Gemma strengthen the services that we can deliver to both new and existing clients. Whether it is direction, advice or support we can ensure you are getting effective and outcome driven strategies, helping both customers and stakeholders. For more information or an opportunity to chat through how we can help, please email tom.bennett@copperconsultancy.com 

The team has a proven track record of successfully delivering positive customer and stakeholder outcomes across many complex DCO, and Highways Act infrastructure projects. 

The team’s passion for customer driven outcomes, can be seen across their career history.  

Copper’s new appointments: 

Tom Bennett:

Tom’s leadership experience of delivering numerous challenging projects and programmes across public sectors, with his successful track record of project and programme management in a stakeholder setting. Tom has successfully delivered projects from Options Identification through to Construction phases, recently in the East, North West and Midlands regions on projects and programmes ranging from £30m to £350m.  

Josh Hodder:

Josh Hodder led the £330m A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross scheme where the project was cited in parliament as a good practice example of how the environment can be central to the decision making process. Josh led the external communication to position to the scheme with stakeholders. 

 

Gemma Lloyd:

Gemma pushed boundaries to drive forward a visual immersive solution for the £250m M25 J10 scheme to replace virtual rooms. An online experience that led to increased scheme awareness, diversified its reach and increased trust with both customers and stakeholders.  

 

Laura Nelson:

Laura’s customer focused attitude can be seen in her award recognition last year being a finalist for Best Use of Customer Insight, commended at the CIHT awards for Team of the Year, and finalist for Customer Focused Network Management at the Highways Awards.  

  • People don’t believe that Levelling-Up will deliver tangible benefits in their community
  • Local leaders are more trusted than Westminster MPs to tackle Levelling-Up and deliver change
  • People want to see powers devolved to local communities

Research conducted by Copper Consultancy, released today, to coincide with the launch of the Government’s Levelling-Up White Paper has shown that there is a significant credibility and communications challenge to overcome in delivering the flagship policy.

The research, which included a survey of 4,000 people across the country, found that only 12% of people believe that Levelling-Up will lead to tangible improvements in their community.

This underlying scepticism has the potential to undermine the ability of the Government to build engagement and adoption of its policies in local communities.

A centralised, Westminster led, approach to Levelling-Up is also likely to be counter productive, with the majority of people (59%) believing that local leaders, rather than MPs are best placed to deliver outcomes for communities.

The research does indicate a potential way to address the challenge, through rapid devolution of powers to regional and local government. The majority of people (59%) would like to see power decentralised and devolved in order to give more power to local communities.

Discussing the results, Annabel John, Director of Communications and Engagement at Copper said “From our research there is clearly an appetite for the reforms that are contained in the Levelling Up White Paper. This is a Government that has prided itself on being in touch with the feelings and aspirations of ordinary people in regions outside of London, and after a challenging period, Levelling-Up may give them an opportunity to reconnect, and a to provide a sense of purpose to their agenda.

She continued “But, they mustn’t underestimate the level of mistrust and scepticism that decades of under investment has engendered in communities. Decentralising decision making and granting genuine power to local and regional bodies has the potential to help and to be popular. But the Government is going to have to go further, to communicate Levelling-Up better to people, and to demonstrate tangible benefits that have a positive effect on individuals and communities at large.”

Copper’s Levelling-Up research was conducted in partnership with Censuswide and involved a survey of 4,000 people conducted between 25 and 28 January 2022.

Planning consent was awarded this month for Vattenfall’s Norfolk Boreas Offshore Wind Farm, which is a significant step towards the UK’s offshore wind and net zero goals. The wind farm will produce enough electricity to power approximately two million homes and will bring significant opportunities for local supply chain and skills development in Norfolk.

Copper has worked with Vattenfall to deliver the project for over three years, from the projects’ statutory consultation in 2018 to the positive consent decision this month. We are delighted for our Vattenfall colleagues in reaching this significant milestone and are proud to have played a part in this success story.

On behalf of everyone at Copper we would like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous new year.

This has been another unpredictable, difficult and demanding twelve months. Obviously we had all hoped that, by now, we would have been returning to something approaching normality. After a year that began with strict lockdowns, we have been able to enjoy some re-found freedoms, and have relished the opportunity to meet so many of our clients, partners and stakeholders face to face, when it has been possible.

But as we finish the year, we are confronted with another wave of Covid, which will make the start of 2022 unpredictable and will introduce a new set of challenges. We know how many unique obstacles that you, and your organisations, will have faced, and we are committed to supporting all of our clients and partners in the year ahead.

Despite the unusual demands of the year, 2021 has been a productive one for the infrastructure industry. The COP-26 conference provided a focal point and rallying cry for the transition of the UK to a net-zero economy in the coming decades. We have also seen an ever strengthening policy landscape which will support the accelerating roll out of renewable energy and the growth of the  hydrogen economy. The Government’s backing of small modular nuclear reactors is also an enormously positive step for national energy security and the international standing of British industry.

Meanwhile the long awaited Integrated Rail Plan, commitments to spending on regional transport upgrades in the 2021 budget, and the award of Freeport status to eight regions, have set a new direction for transport networks. Through the Towns Fund, Levelling Up Fund and other investment, we have seen billions committed to the rebalancing of the UK’s economy and the improvement of social infrastructure around the country.

During the last year, Copper has supported clients including DLUHC, National Highways, National Grid, Vattenfall, LM JV, RWE, Cadent Gas and Progressive Energy to achieve major milestones, helping to contribute to the enhancement of critical infrastructure around the UK. Copper’s ongoing growth has also enabled us to continue to invest in our team, with senior hires across all of our practices, and 27 new people joining us.

In our 25th Anniversary year, Copper’s ongoing commitment to excellence in communications and engagement for the infrastructure and construction industries has also been recognised with awards from both CIPR and PRCA. Meanwhile we have continued to contribute to understanding within our industry through publication of a range of Attitudes Reports into the public perception of Freeports, Levelling-Up, Local Carbon Energy and the transition to Net-Zero. In order to play our small part in the drive towards carbon reduction, Copper has also become a carbon neutral company ourselves.

The ongoing growth and development of our business means that we will be in a strong position to  support our clients, partners and the country as a whole as we tackle ever more pressing challenges in the year ahead.

However, none of this would have been possible without substantial support from our clients over the last 25 years, and for that we remain enormously grateful. Thank you all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Copper has been appointed by the Western Gateway to help build support for its bid to become the home of the UK’s first prototype nuclear fusion energy plant. The powerhouse partnership, which encompasses local authorities, city regions, Local Enterprise Partnerships and governments across western England and South Wales, is seeking to bring Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) to its Severn Edge location, spanning former nuclear sites at Berkeley and Oldbury.  As well as being well placed as a centre of excellence for this emerging technology, the Severn Edge site would also provide a catalyst for levelling up on both sides of the border between Wales and England, creating opportunities for people in left behind communities. 

More detailed designs have been revealed for Cardiff Parkway, a proposed new railway station to the south of St Mellons Business Park, following endorsement by the Burns Commission and the Hendy Review.  

The 90,000sqm Cardiff Hendre Lakes development, which includes Cardiff Parkway railway station, aims to bring connectivity, jobs and investment to South Wales. The development will make a significant contribution to the regeneration of east Cardiff and the growth ambitions of the Cardiff Capital Region. The development has the potential to support up to 6,000 jobs, as well as becoming a transport hub, helping people access other employment opportunities across South Wales and beyond. 

Copper has worked with the Cardiff Parkway team since 2019, providing communications, engagement and consultation services throughout the pre-application period.  

 Nigel Roberts, Chairman of Cardiff Parkway Developments, said: “Our proposals are for a sustainable, well-connected garden business district with public transport and active travel at its heart. This unique development will bring investment to an area that has long suffered from underinvestment, create new employment opportunities, and better connect people in this region of south east Wales. We are aiming to deliver convenient and quick services, with a high-quality customer experience, particularly for public transport and active travel, to encourage sustainable transport to become the obvious choice.  

“While the unprecedented challenges we’ve all had to endure over the last two years have impacted our programme, our team is as motivated as ever. We have been working hard with key stakeholders to prepare to deliver the scheme and we’re delighted that Sir Peter Hendy has endorsed Lord Burns’ report where Cardiff Parkway is one of the key recommendations. We are really looking forward to making that recommendation a reality for everyone by starting on site next year as soon as our planning application is determined.” 

Annabel John, Director of Communications at Copper, said: “The Cardiff Parkway project is one part of much needed investment in transport connectivity for south Wales and has been endorsed by the Burns Commission and the Hendy Union Connectivity Review. The opportunity to work on this project has been really exciting and we look forward to the next stages of the project in 2022.” 

Copper will be at Highways UK next week (3rd and 4th November) in Birmingham – the event of the year for the highways and road infrastructure sector. Join us at our ‘attitudes bar’ (stand J102) to explore our industry insight, test your highways knowledge with our ‘name the road’ quiz or simply catch-up with a drink. If you don’t yet have a ticket you can register here. 

There’s a lot to talk about, but front and centre of many minds is the challenge of Project Speed.  The Government has committed to ‘building back better’… and faster. Account manager Joseph Moore examines the role of transport corridors in this vision and argues that communities must not be overlooked in our bid to ‘build, build, build’. Read his reflections here.