Principle 4: Early Collaboration and Engagement
Why does it matter?
Early and meaningful engagement with relevant parties will result in:
- The Identification of any issues, challenges, conflicts and opportunities that could be difficult to address if identified later on in a proposal.
- Reduces costs for a project with GI providing nature-based solutions to some of the challenges.
- Reduces cost for GI delivery and maintenance; allowing GI to be budgeted for from the start, rather than at the end as an addition.
- Delivery of a viable, sustainable and attractive proposal for the long-term.
- Ensures policy and planning is joined up.
- Multiple benefits for end users/ residents/ businesses.
Meeting the principle
Engagement with partners, experts and local communities for any plans, projects, policies or programmes helps to create a vision for the community and achieve better outcomes. It is important not to just engage on GI alone but also on the wider aspects of the development. Developers are expected to provide and submit evidence of early and/or continued engagement regarding GI on site.
Shifting views and expectations will then need to be managed throughout the delivery of a project, development or the production of policy documents. It is important there is ongoing feedback to participants of decisions taken.
It is really important developers have an engagement strategy to get the right people involved early to discuss and develop plans from the start. Sectors and interests to consider will include:
- Highways, transport, drainage, utilities, public health, education, ecology, heritage, landscape, parks/public space, finance, planning and community liaison authorities.
- Statutory consultees, statutory undertakers and trusts.
- Community representatives, user groups, Local Access Forums, business, education sector, and landowners and agricultural sector.
- Those who benefit from the GI, and those who could benefit in the future.
Demonstrating results by sharing good stories of how early engagement helped the process and examples of where late engagement caused issues for the proposal or project is a good way to bring people on side. By taking steps to proactively improve the stage of engagement it can build better relationships, improve project outcomes and deliver multifunctional GI successfully.
Page updated: 4/04/2023