National Infrastructure Commission moves forward with NIA planning


The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which will be set up as an executive agency without statutory status from January, has begun the next phase of developing a National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA).

It has published its response to a recent consultation on the process and methodology of the NIA and launched a 15-week call for evidence to shape the development of the NIA. Both provide insight into the NIC's future work.

Isabel Dedring of Arup

Sir John Armitt, deputy chair of the NIC, said: ‘The National Infrastructure Assessment will be a world first in size and scope – and the Commission is absolutely committed to carrying it out in an open, transparent way, engaging with a wide range of stakeholders.

‘How can infrastructure best support growth, how should we decide what we repair and what we build, and who should pay for it – these are the sorts of big questions we need to answer.’

The consultation response reveals that some respondents questioned the NIC’s approach to issues such as housing, green infrastructure and natural capital - the local environment  assets such as clean air.

The NIC stated that these issues are not within its remit but that it will consider the interactions between infrastructure and housing and will take natural capital and green infrastructure into account where they ‘are relevant to and have a relationship with economic infrastructure’.

The NIC said the call for evidence includes 28 key questions that are necessary ‘to understand the main infrastructure challenges facing the country over the coming decades’.

The questions are divided into; cross-cutting themes, transport, digital communications, energy, water and wastewater, flood risk management, and solid waste.

They include: ‘How should the maintenance and repair of existing assets be most effectively balanced with the construction of new assets?’ and ‘what changes in funding policy could improve the efficiency with which infrastructure services are delivered?’

New advisory groups

The NIC also announced the formation and membership of two new expert advisory groups – a Technical Panel and an Analytical Panel.

The technical panel will include Tim Chapman and Isabel Dedring of Arup and Professor Lord Robert Mair of Cambridge University.

It said the groups will act as a sounding board for emerging thinking and methodologies and expose documents to additional scrutiny prior to publication.

Members of the Technical Panel are:

  • Tim Chapman, Arup
  • Brian Collins, Professor of engineering, UCL
  • Graham Dalton, Chief Executive of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation
  • Richard Dawson, Director, Centre for Earth Systems Engineering Research Newcastle University
  • Isabel Dedring, Director Global Transport Leader, Arup
  • Jim Hall, Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks – Director of the Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University
  • Hanif Kara, AKT II Founder and Equity Director
  • Robert Mair, Professor of Civil Engineering Cambridge University
  • Natasha McCarthy, Head of digital and data policy, Royal Society
  • Lucy Musgrave, Director, Publica
  • Robbie Owen, Head of Infrastructure Planning and Government Affairs, Pinsent Masons
  • Nick Pidgeon, Professor of Environmental Risk, Cardiff University

Members of the Analytical Panel are:

  • Mike Batty, Bartlett Professor of Planning, UCL
  • Nick Crafts, Professor of Economics and Economic History, University of Warwick
  • Diane Coyle, Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester
  • Amelia Fletcher, Professor of Competition Policy, Norwich Business School
  • David Newbery, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Faculty of Economics University of Cambridge Economies, University of Oxford
  • Henry Overman, Professor of Economics (LSE), Centre for Economic Performance London School of Economics
  • Andrew Sentance, Senior Economic Adviser, PWC
  • Jon Temple, Professor, Bristol University
  • Tony Venables, BP Professor of Economics, Director, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich

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