Southampton-based Adrian French started his career at Hampshire County Council where he worked in minerals and waste policy and development management. He then spent 16 years at Terence O’Rourke where he was appointed to the board and was responsible for the company’s renewable energy work and its Edinburgh office. Following this he worked for a renewables developer on wind farm and solar park developments. He also worked as a freelance planning and environmental consultant before joining WYG where he is a director of planning for energy and infrastructure.
Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
My job is to develop opportunities on energy, utility and infrastructure projects. Together we act for a wide range of clients and contacts and have good working links with the industry. I am currently active within RenewableUK, Scottish Renewables and the National Infrastructure Planning Association. My goals and targets are discussed with the head of planning, Steven Fidgett and the planning board and are regularly reviewed and appraised.
Q. What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?
A You are only as good as your last job. It’s an old adage in consultancy but your current and past clients are your best ambassadors so always be focused on delivering a consistent and good service.
Take time to listen to, and understand, what the client actually wants. Quite often the client will not be clear what they want the consultant to do, so define and refine the scope of work required.
Look beyond the planning permission. Too often consents are issued with conditions that have an adverse impact on delivery and viability. Wherever possible seek to ‘front-load’ applications to avoid problematic conditions and to secure more robust developments that are capable of being financed.