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(Lord) Charles Banner KC to lead government review on national infrastructure

(Lord) Charles Banner KC to lead government review on national infrastructure


Top barrister (Lord) Charles Banner KC to expedite major infrastructure projects, addressing legal hurdles for efficiency

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, led by Lee Rowley MP and The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, has announced that (Lord) Charles Banner KC, a prominent planning barrister, will lead an independent review to streamline the planning and delivery of national infrastructure projects. Published on 7 March 2024, this initiative aligns with the government's broader efforts to enhance the efficiency of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), often hindered by legal barriers and prolonged judicial reviews.

Banner, alongside fellow barrister Nick Grant, will investigate whether inappropriate legal challenges unduly delay NSIPs and, if so, identify the primary reasons and propose effective solutions. The review aims to maintain the constitutional right to access justice while meeting the UK's international obligations.

Even unsuccessful legal challenges can significantly impede major projects, causing years of delays in areas such as road improvements, offshore wind farms, and wastewater management facilities.

Housing Minister Lee Rowley expressed the importance of expediting planning delays, emphasising the need to use all available tools to accelerate essential construction nationwide. He eagerly anticipates the outcomes of Banner's review, which is crucial for facilitating national infrastructure delivery despite costly legal challenges.

(Lord) Charles Banner KC, a leading expert in planning and environmental regulation, brings a wealth of experience to the review. Having previously chaired the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, he is well-versed in government panels. Banner is committed to analysing information and stakeholder feedback to determine whether improvements can be made to the legal challenge process for NSIPs, reducing delays without compromising constitutional principles and international obligations.

As part of the review, Banner will produce a comprehensive written report containing recommendations based on research and stakeholder engagement. The review, announced in the Autumn Statement through the policy paper 'Getting Great Britain building again: Speeding up infrastructure delivery,' is expected to last three months. The government will consider the recommendations upon publication.

(Lord) Charles Banner KC, called to the Bar of England & Wales in 2004 and the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2010, was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2019. At 38, he was the youngest of the 2019 silks. Practicing across jurisdictions and internationally, Banner has previously contributed outstanding work to the government on various panels. Nick Grant, specialising in planning, infrastructure, compulsory purchase, and environmental law, is on the Attorney General’s C-panel of counsel.

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