Steve chairs the council of the National Infrastructure Planning Association www.nipa-uk.org which he co-founded in 2010 together with colleagues involved in the planning process for major schemes of national importance. Prior to the passing of Labour’s 2008 Planning Act which laid the foundations for a new regime, the process of obtaining planning consent for nuclear power stations, new roads and railways, sewage farms, waste to energy facilities and the like had been lengthy, repetitive and massively costly. As a transport minister Steve had first hand experience of the application by the owners of Heathrow Airport to build Terminal 5. At the time it was the longest public inquiry in British history. Eight years after the original application the building was granted planning permission. The inquiry had cost £80m and heard over 700 witnesses. All this for a building to improve passenger experience. Regardless of the wisdom or otherwise of a third runway at the airport it is hard to see why the construction of a terminal building should have been so lengthy and expensive. Convinced that the UK had to do better Steve together with most of the top infrastructure lawyers, developers, planners and advisors helped develop the current regime embodied in the 2008 Act which gave rise to the notion of National Policy Statement (NPS) on topics of national importance and a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) regime which has transformed our ability to deliver vital infrastructure more rapidly and cost effectively. Steve is Chairman of London Resort Company Holdings which is developing a £3.5bn entertainment resort project in North Kent as the country’s first wholly commercial NSIP.
Steve was a member of the Treasury’s hs2 Growth Task Force under then Commercial Secretary Lord (Paul) Deighton and is a strong supporter of that project and of the Northern Powerhouse conceived by George Osborne when Chancellor. With former Labour Transport Secretary Lord (Andrew) Adonis he has co-chaired studies on river crossings east of Tower Bridge and on the potential for upgraded rail services in south London. He advises several infrastructure developers and chairs Highways UK, the national exhibition and conference dedicated to improving communication between all the players in the roads sector including private and public sector participants.
Steve is Chairman of AIM-listed Driver Group plc the global construction and civil engineering consultancy specialising in dispute resolution and planning and programming services. He is a Companion of the Institution of Civil Engineers and an Honorary Fellow of the Association of Project Management, the chartered body for the project management profession.