National Infrastructure Commission
Armitt: Government’s infrastructure strategy can’t stop at HS2
Ministers should take their “golden moment of opportunity” to make firm decisions on developing sustainable infrastructure beyond HS2, the Chair of the government’s independent infrastructure Commission has said.
Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, told MPs and Peers that existing projects which pass environmental and financial muster should be accelerated as part of the government’s forthcoming National Infrastructure Strategy, as “levelling up cannot happen without some digging up”.
Armitt welcomed this week’s announcement on the high-speed link and the Commission’s role in reviewing wider regional rail connectivity as “a sensible way forward”, reflecting his call for sound decision-making when it comes to major infrastructure projects.
He called for greater devolution of powers and funding to city leaders to maximise the benefits of reduced strain on other rail lines once HS2 opens, to reduce road congestion and enable options for reducing carbon emissions.
Arguing that infrastructure is about more than “big and shiny national projects”, Armitt highlighted previous Commission calls for government to implement a national flood resilience standard, and to accelerate work to identify options for replacing natural gas as the dominant fuel for heating the UK’s homes and businesses.
Armitt acknowledged to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure that “recent months have not offered the best environment for making sound decisions on significant long-term spending commitments”. He called for the government’s National Infrastructure Strategy – due to be published alongside the Budget next month – to reset the dial, describing the forthcoming announcement as “a golden moment of opportunity for government to chart an ambitious but deliverable plan.”
Sir John pointed to the Commission’s National Infrastructure Assessment of July 2018, to which the government’s strategy will form an official response. “After more than 18 months of delay, we hope the stage is now set for a truly transformative strategy that will prove worth the wait,” he said.
Armitt also reiterated the Commission’s four tests for the National Infrastructure Strategy: that it must look beyond immediate political cycles and set out broad policy up to 2050; that it must be backed up with a specific plan, with clear deadlines and identified owners in government; that it is resourced by a firm funding commitment of at least 1.2 per cent of GDP a year; and that it reflects a genuine commitment to transformational change.
The full text of Sir John’s speech is available here.
Latest News from
National Infrastructure Commission
James Heath appointed National Infrastructure Commission’s Chief Executive27/02/2020 16:15:00
James Heath, currently Director of Digital Infrastructure at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the National Infrastructure Commission.
2020 must be year of action following “decidedly mixed” progress on infrastructure priorities26/02/2020 13:15:00
Recent announcements on infrastructure spending must be set within a proper long term strategy in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and to meet the challenge of climate change, according to the National Infrastructure Commission’s annual report on government progress towards key infrastructure objectives.
High Speed 2 update24/02/2020 11:48:00
On 11 February 2020, the government published the independent Oakervee review of the High Speed 2 rail project and announced plans to proceed with High Speed 2, with construction of Phase 1 from London to the West Midlands set to begin in April.
High Speed 2 given go-ahead11/02/2020 14:15:00
The Prime Minister today confirmed the government is to proceed with the High Speed 2 rail project between London, the midlands and the north of England.
Passengers facing second-class mobile connectivity on UK rail network07/02/2020 16:15:00
Passengers will continue to experience inadequate mobile services on the UK’s railways due to slow government progress in fixing gaps in connectivity.
Infrastructure should “celebrate our nation’s ambition,” says Stirling Prize winner as she throws down new design challenge for the industry06/02/2020 09:15:00
Professor Sadie Morgan, Chair of the National Infrastructure Design Group, yesterday threw down a challenge to everyone involved in major projects to embrace new principles to enhance the quality of the nation’s infrastructure.
Ofgem decarbonisation action plan a welcome step forward04/02/2020 11:15:00
The energy regulator Ofgem yesterday published its decarbonisation plan for the UK’s energy sector to support the growth of EVs on UK, promote growth in offshore generation and unlock investment in green technologies.
Speedy action needed on EVs charging (letter)16/01/2020 15:42:00
National Infrastructure Commission Chair Sir John Armitt has today written a letter to the editor of The Times, in response to its article on the challenge of preparing for the expected growth in electric vehicles in the UK, part of a series of articles on the theme of ‘Electric Britain’.