Sustainable development depends on infrastructure, from transport to energy, water and digital networks, and from schools and hospitals to green space and flood defences. While the planning regime for nationally significant infrastructure has been streamlined over time, planning for infrastructure at the sub-national level often remains complex and fragmented.
Planning for sub-national infrastructure involves navigating through a complex web of national and local government agencies, regulators, utility companies and service providers. These bodies often working to different timeframes, across different geographical areas, and to different objectives. It can therefore be challenging for planners and city leaders to drive effective coordination and ensure that infrastructure delivery supports their wider objectives, such as housing delivery, job growth, modal shift, or problems like flooding and air pollution. This complexity creates uncertainty for planners, developers and local communities, and can make people reluctant to support growth.
In response to this, local and combined authorities across the country are experimenting with different approaches to integrated infrastructure planning - forming partnerships, developing frameworks, sharing data and creating interactive digital infrastructure platforms. We want to understand how these are working in practice, any barriers are commonly encountered, how best practice can be replicated, and whether wider changes are needed to the way in which we regulate, plan and finance our infrastructure.
To support this understanding, the RTPI will issue an Invitation to Tender for research into current approaches to integrated infrastructure planning in three case study areas: one English combined authority, one English county council, and one Scottish city-region.
The invitation to tender will be published here on Tuesday 25 September.