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Boost for National Infrastructure Commission with new appointments

The Chancellor has announced the appointment of three new experts to the National Infrastructure Commission.

Nicholas Winser CBE, Kate Willard OBE and Jim Hall will strengthen infrastructure, energy and environment expertise as new Commissioners at the NIC, which was established in 2017 to provide impartial, expert advice to government on major long-term economic infrastructure challenges.

The Commission carries out in-depth studies into the UK’s major infrastructure needs – covering transport, energy, water, flood protection, waste and digital infrastructure - and makes recommendations to the government. Alongside these appointments, Neale Coleman CBE, Julia Prescot, and Andy Green CBE have been reappointed as Commissioners for further five-year terms.

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Helen Whately, said:

The National Infrastructure Commission plays an invaluable role providing expert and impartial advice to the government on the UK’s long-term infrastructure challenges.

These appointments bring extensive expertise to advise the Government as we boost the economy, level up opportunities, and transition to net zero.

Chair of the Commission, Sir John Armitt, said:

I am pleased to welcome Nick, Kate and Jim to the Commission at a critical time for ensuring long term infrastructure policy helps address some of society’s biggest challenges. Their expertise will be particularly useful as we work towards publication of the second National Infrastructure Assessment next year.

I would also like to pay tribute to David Fisk as he steps down from the Commission. David has helped us chart the steps necessary to deliver a low carbon future for energy and the interventions needed to safeguard the resilience of vital services upon which we all rely. We wish David all the best for his future work in infrastructure and beyond.

The Chancellor has appointed Mr Winser, Ms Willard and Prof. Hall as NIC Commissioners until April 2027, with the appointments taking effect from 1 May 2022.

Mr Winser will replace David Fisk as the Commissioner with particular experience in the energy sector, while Prof. Hall and Ms Willard have been appointed to further strengthen the Commission’s expertise on the relationship between infrastructure and the environment, and local and regional infrastructure policy.

Mr Winser CBE brings extensive experience in energy systems, markets and regulation with a 30-year career in the energy sector which included CEO of National Grid across UK and Europe, President of the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity and CIGRE UK Chair. He has been the chairman of Energy Systems Catapult since 2015, was appointed chairman of the Advisory Board for the Energy Revolution ISCF programme in 2018, and served on the Advisory Panel for the Cost of Energy Review in 2017. He is also a member of the Net Zero Expert Group, a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, serving as its President in 2017/18.

Ms Willard OBE is Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and the Government appointed Thames Estuary Envoy. She has lived and worked in Hungary, France and Belgium, established the first UK-Hungarian cultural partnership trust and was CEO of the UK’s first rural regeneration company. Kate is on Arts Council England’s National Council, and chairs both Arts Council Area Council North and the Board of Teesside International Airport. She is a Churchill Fellow and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

Prof. Hall FREng is Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks in the University of Oxford and is Director of Research in the School of Geography and the Environment. Before joining the University of Oxford in 2011 to become Director of the University’s Environmental Change Institute, Prof Hall held academic positions in Newcastle University and the University of Bristol. Professor Hall is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology and is Expert Advisor to the National Infrastructure Commission. He is Chair of the Science Advisory Committee of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). He was a member of the UK independent Committee on Climate Change Adaptation from 2009 to 2019.

Neale Coleman CBE, Julia Prescot and Andy Green CBE have also been reappointed for further five-year terms until April 2027.

Mr Coleman is currently Director and Founding Partner at Blackstock Partnerships Limited. Prior to this Neale worked at the Greater London Authority from 2000 – 2015, leading the Mayor’s work on London’s Olympic bid, the delivery of the Games and their regeneration legacy and was a Board Member of the Olympic Delivery Authority throughout its life. Neale co-chaired the Olympic Delivery Group, which had responsibility for leading preparations for the Games prior to the creation of the ODA, ensuring the right infrastructure was in place to support the largest sporting event in the world.

Ms Prescot holds several board and advisory roles. She is a co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Meridiam and sits on the Executive Committee of Meridiam SAS. She has been involved in long term infrastructure development and investment in the UK, Europe, North America and Africa. She is an Honorary Professor at the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management, University College London. She also serves as Deputy Chair of the Port of Tyne.

Mr Green holds several Chair, Non-Executive Director and advisory roles, linked by his passion for how technology transforms business and our daily lives. He chairs Nominet UK which runs the .UK namespace and provides Cyber Security solutions, is Senior Independent Director at Airtel Africa plc, and has served as Chair of the Digital Catapult, an initiative to help grow the UK’s digital economy.

About the Appointment Process:

Nicholas Winser, Kate Willard and Jim Hall were selected following a fair and open competition. An advisory assessment panel chaired by Sir John Armitt (Chair, National Infrastructure Commission) and also consisting of Joanna Key (Director, HM Treasury), James Heath (CEO of the NIC) and Rachel Skinner (Director, WSP) interviewed a number of candidates and made recommendations to the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and Chancellor, which informed the selection decision.

The Treasury is committed to appointing a diverse range of people to public appointments and works to attract the broadest range of suitable applicants for posts. There were 97 applications for these positions, of which 16 candidates were shortlisted for interview. Based on data disclosed during the appointment process, the table below shows the diversity profile of applicants and interviewees. The diversity breakdown for this appointment is below.

  Gender Ethnicity Disability Sexual orientation
All applicants 80% male, 20% female 91% white, 9% ethnically diverse 90% no disability, 10% identified as having a disability 90% heterosexual, 10% LGBTQ*
Interviewees 62% male, 38% female 87% white, 13% ethnically diverse 81% no disability, 19% identified as having a disability 93% heterosexual, 7% LGBTQ*

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity (if any declared) to be made public.

Mr Winser, Ms Willard and Prof. Hall have confirmed they have not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.


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