Highways England Road Investment Plan

Client: Atkins (for Highways England)

Overview

Atkins has been awarded a contract by Highways England to deliver (under the collaborative Delivery Framework) a portfolio of Road Investment Plan (RIP) schemes at five locations in the South East.

  • M25 Junction 25 Improvement
  • M25 Junction 28 Improvement
  • M25 Junction 10/A3 Wisley Interchange
  • A2 Bean and Ebbsfleet Junctions Improvements
  • M2 Junction 5 Improvements

CJ Associates has provided expert technical and management services on strategy, stakeholder engagement and consultation, and the Development Consent Order (DCO) and Highways Act processes, through the Preliminary Design and the pre-application phases of work.

Key Services

Strategy

CJ Associates provides ongoing expert strategic support and supervision on the schemes to ensure a consistent approach and to facilitate their successful delivery. We are undertaking a management role in the development and implementation of stakeholder engagement, communications and consultation activities for the schemes and providing cross-programme oversight of the stakeholder workstreams.

We are working in collaboration with the Atkins and Highways England Project Managers, DCO & Stakeholder Leads, providing expert advice. We provide support and supervision on the DCO statutory consultation to ensure compliance with the Planning Act and advise the Stakeholder Leads in managing issues arising during the consultation period. We are providing advice and guidance on the Statement of Community Consultation, consultation response analysis, consultation reports, Statements of Common Grounds, and resolving stakeholder issues to miminise the number of potential representations at examination. We also provide support on land owner engagement in relation to temporary and permanent access, acquisition and compensation matters.

We are providing programme-wide advice on best practice, evidence based, project managed approach to delivering meaningful engagement and effective statutory consultations.

Stakeholder Engagement and Consultation

CJ Associates has provided a team of stakeholder engagement, consultation and DCO specialists to work closely with the Atkins and Highways England teams to ensure seamless, integrated, well-managed stakeholder engagement process that complies with statutory requirements. To achieve comprehensive stakeholder engagement, we led a workshop with the objectives of:

  • Explaining DCO consultation requirements and the differences to non-statutory consultation
  • Exploring statutory consultation and engagement best practice
  • Sharing the Lessons Learnt from other relevant projects
  • Identifying challenges and opportunities for engagement and consultation
  • Clearly defining roles and responsibilities for engagement (including records management)

The successful workshop encouraged collaborative working between Project Managers, DCO & Stakeholder Leads, and was crucial to achieving a consistent approach across the schemes, supporting the sharing of intelligence between workstreams and establish set processes for both technical and stakeholder teams.

We also led an engagement planning session for each project and helped to develop a master schedule of engagement and consultation planning to identify programme risks and opportunities.

Following options selection, we conducted a review of the engagement and consultation products, records and scope submitted in the previous stage, including the communications plans, DCO list and database.

We have undertaken an advisory and review role in the drafting, finalising, and implementation of the project communications plans for the Preliminary Design and consenting stages across four schemes, including reviewing the scope of material to be produced and the draft material to ensure consistency and best practice. We were integral to the delivery of the DCO statutory consultations by supporting development of consultation brochures and questionnaires, display boards, visualisation, event planning, statutory notices, stakeholder communications and stakeholder briefings.

We have worked closely with Stakeholder Leads to identify opportunities to engage with stakeholders in the lead up to and during the consultation and provided advice and support to improve engagement workstream reporting on each scheme. We have helped identify opportunities and requirements to engage with stakeholders post consultation across statutory and non-statutory environmental engagement, land owners, major stakeholders and Local Authorities (for the A2 Bean and J10 schemes).

Key to Stakeholder Engagement is the management of records of interactions with external stakeholders and we developed and implemented an interim database and supporting procedure documentation and training.

Development Consent Order Advice

CJ Associates team of planning specialists have worked directly with the DCO leads providing legal advice and support on the requirements of the DCO process for the relevant schemes. We undertook a compliance role on the DCO statutory consultation and have developed a consultation compliance checklist.

We have worked with the DCO leads advising on requirements and processes for negotiating with local authorities and other stakeholders, including heads of terms and statements of common ground. In addition, we have developed and reviewed DCO related templates in order to achieve consistency across the schemes.

Highways Act Order Advice

The A2 Bean and Ebbsfleet Junction scheme was originally identified as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project requiring a Development Consent Order and a statutory consultation was undertaken in Spring 2018 to comply with the requirements in the Planning Act 2008.  Subsequently it was decided to pursue consent for the project through provisions in the Highways Act 1980.  Draft Orders were published in February 2019 and a public inquiry held in October that year.

CJ Associates provided stakeholder engagement, consultation and communications expertise support to Atkins and Highways England throughout the pre-application stage and prior to the publication of draft Orders and during the public inquiry phase of the project.

Key Services:

  • Provided strategic engagement and consultation advice to the senior leadership team at Atkins and Highways England
  • Provided oversight across stakeholder engagement, communications and consultation activities, including managing stakeholder team comprising CJ Associates and Atkins members
  • Delivered the statutory consultation and external communications including production of materials, statutory notices, consultation analysis and reporting
  • Ensured consultation was undertaken in accordance with the Statement of Community Consultation and Planning Act guidance
  • Liaised between external and internal stakeholders to ensure key issues were addressed and agreement reached
  • Developed and maintained effective engagement with landowners
  • Engaged with local authorities and statutory environmental bodies in the development of statements of common ground including the Environment Agency, Natural England, Historic England, Kent County Council, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Gravesham Borough Council, Dartford Borough Council and Bean Parish Council
  • Assisted with public inquiry logistics including venue search and selection
  • Provided support during the public inquiry and liaised with the programme officer to co-ordinate requirements for additional documents
  • Working in collaboration with Atkins/Highways England created a stakeholder and communications strategy for the construction phase of the project

Value Added

Working with the Project Managers and DCO & Stakeholder Leads, we have provided expertise and experience acquired through ‘lessons learnt’ on other Highways England major projects. We have improved best practice in the development and delivery of stakeholder engagement and statutory consultation and have implemented a project management approach to Stakeholder Engagement.

We delivered efficiencies across the projects by ensuring consistency of the communications plans across all schemes, providing a consistent approach to stakeholder engagement and consultation planning by using standardised documentation and processes, approved by Highways England. We introduced records management and an evidence based approach to SE through the development and implementation of a stakeholder records database.

We provided strategic advice and direction to ensure DCO compliance and led on the engagement with environmental bodies, land owners and local authorities. We identified opportunities to improve stakeholder engagement and consultation activities and ensured best practice and quality of engagement to provide a smooth path to scheme authorisations.

CJ Associates provided the client with additional resources and expertise to ensure that the necessary engagement and consultation for consents under the Planning Act and Highways Act were successfully undertaken on the A2 Bean and Ebbsfleet scheme.  As part of a fully integrated client team we developed statements of common ground documenting the resolution of complex issues arising from engagement with key stakeholders which greatly reduced the time and resources required for the public inquiry.  Our expertise in event management, detailed knowledge of the project and the relationships we had built prior to Orders being published enabled us to effectively support the client and programme officer at the public inquiry.

HE RIP Project Description