Does the National Infrastructure Assessment deliver for a post-Brexit Britain?

The long awaited assessment of the UK’s infrastructure needs and requirements has been published by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).

Its purpose, according to Chair, Sir John Armitt is to “think beyond technologies…and make the most of future innovations” and focuses on three keys areas around digital connectivity, major transport infrastructure and the UK’s energy solutions.

Transport and Housing

One of the most interesting insights was the NIC’s take on transport schemes and how they are funded.  The report recommended the widening of devolution powers with £43Bn of rail funding in Cities and support for major projects such as Crossrail2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, all devolved to their regional metro Mayors.

There was also a call for £3.8bn to be invested over the next 10 years to make improvements to the UK’s social housing stock – this aligns with the Prime Minister’s recent conference announcement to remove the cap on council borrowing to inject £10bn+ to address the country’s housing shortage.

This will ultimately enable regions to develop long-term strategies for both transport and housing, supporting sustainable employment and economic growth in their regions.

Renewable vs Nuclear

On the theme of energy, the focus was on low-cost renewable technologies, such as wind and solar, as opposed to large nuclear plants.  The report recommends that a minimum of 50% of the UK’s electricity requirement comes from renewables by 2030.

The NIC’s Chief Executive has advised that the Green Agenda must be based on practical and economic benefits, as well as environmental factors for the NextGen of project investment to be sustainable.

The NIA has been well received by industry leaders and trade associations, providing insight and direction on long term infrastructure priorities over the next 20 years.

The challenge for UK Government must now be to digest these plans, consider what changes need to be made to future policies and most importantly to back this up with the financial commitment and support, so that a post-Brexit Britain is seen by inward investors as forward thinking and open for business.

Date: 30/09/2018
Category: Steve's Blog