The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is seeking views on how it should go about evaluating Britain’s infrastructure needs and the ways these can be met. Among the sectors the commission will examine will be energy, transport, water and drainage and flood defences. It will not only look at individual sectors but will also examine cross-sector issues such as local growth, sustainability, and funding and financing.

Although operationally independent, the National Infrastructure Commission is currently in interim form until being established in legislation. The interim Commission is functioning within the terms of reference laid out by the Government, which set out a central responsibility for the National Infrastructure Commission to produce a National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) once a Parliament.

The Government has outlined the objectives of the National Infrastructure Commission as the provision of expert, independent advice on pressing infrastructure issues, and produce an in-depth assessment of the UK’s major infrastructure needs on a 30-year time horizon.

Its specific objectives will be to:

  • Foster long-term and sustainable economic growth across all regions of the UK;
  • Improve the UK’s international competitiveness; and
  • Improve the quality of life for those living in the UK.

The Commission will develop the NIA in line with these objectives, whilst ensuring that the recommendations are consistent with the UK’s carbon and environmental commitments.

In the first phase of the assessment process the commission will determine a long-term vision for the UK up to 2050, priority areas for action over the medium-term and options to address the needs identified. These will be outlined in the ‘Vision and Priorities’ documents due to be published in the summer of 2017. In the second phase, the NIC will hold a public consultation on the vision that is outlined, before publishing the full assessment in 2018. The assessment will contain the commission’s final conclusions on Britain’s infrastructure needs and priorities as well as recommendations on how these can best be met.

The commission has acknowledged that developing the National Infrastructure Assessment will be an enormous piece of work and that every aspect of the UK’s economic infrastructure will need to be studied, assessed, and understood. It is essential that the energy and water infrastructures are robustly scrutinised if this is to deliver effective water and energy projects. The initial consultation is requesting feedback on what issues the Commission should be considering, whether there are any areas that should be prioritised for review and whether there any principles that should inform the way that the Commission produces the NIA that are missing.

The consultation on the assessment methodology closes on 5th August 2016. We are formulating our response to the consultation and would welcome your feedback to incorporate into this. To have your say, please email the compliance team at or alternatively complete the contact form. To discuss this further please call Melanie Kendall-Reid on 01252 87 87 22.

Share This