Chancellor George Osborne has announced the creation of a new National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to “offer an unbiased analysis of the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs”.
Osborne said the NIC, to be chaired by Lord Andrew Adonis, would begin work immediately on an interim basis and later be put into statute, focusing initially on rail connectivity of Northern cities, energy infrastructure and London’s public transport.
The NIC will publish advice to government on these issues before next year’s budget and work on a national infrastructure assessment, looking at requirements over the next 30 years.
Osborne said: “The commission will calmly and dispassionately assess the future infrastructure needs of the country and it will hold any government’s feet to the fire if it fails to deliver.”
The NIC, which will assess infrastructure needs every five years, will look at sectors including energy, road, rail, ports, airports, water supply, waste, flood defences and broadband.
Lord Adonis, a Labour peer who will move to the crossbenches while chairing the NIC, said: “Without big improvements to its transport and energy systems, Britain will grind to a halt. I look forward to establishing the National Infrastructure Commission as an independent body able to advise government and parliament on priorities.
“Major infrastructure projects like Crossrail and major new power stations span governments and parliaments. I hope it will be possible to forge a wide measure of agreement, across society and politics, on key infrastructure requirements for the next 20 to 30 years and the assessments which have underpinned them.”