National Infrastructure Commission

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National Infrastructure Commission
National Infrastructure Commission logo.png
Executive agency overview
Formed5 October 2015 in interim form (5 October 2015 in interim form)
24 January 2017 (as an executive agency of HM Treasury) (24 January 2017 (as an executive agency of HM Treasury))
JurisdictionUnited Kingdom
Annual budget£5.7m[1]
Minister responsible
Executive agency executives
Parent Executive agencyHM Treasury

The UK National Infrastructure Commission is the executive agency responsible for providing expert advice to the UK Government on infrastructure challenges facing the UK.[2][3]

One of its main tasks is to undertake a national infrastructure assessment during each Parliament. It also undertakes studies in specific areas of infrastructure. The Commission makes recommendations to the government, and monitors the government's progress on infrastructure.

Purpose and history[edit]

The Commission is the body responsible for providing independent analysis and advice to the Government to ensure the UK meets its long-term infrastructure needs. Its role is to support sustainable economic growth across all regions of the UK, improve competitiveness, and improve quality of life. It was established in October 2015. Chancellor George Osborne appointed Lord Adonis as interim chairman.[4] In January 2017 the Commission was established as an executive agency of HM Treasury.[5][6] In April 2017, Lord Adonis and Sir John Armitt were confirmed as the first permanent chair and deputy chair respectively, and four new commissioners were appointed.[7] Lord Adonis resigned in December 2017 citing concerns over Brexit and was replaced by former Deputy Chair Sir John Armitt. [8]



The commissioners are supported by about 40 people who work in the secretariat: made up of civil servants, including economists and policy generalists, as well as secondees from industry.

National Infrastructure Assessment[edit]

One of the NIC's main tasks is to undertake a national infrastructure assessment each parliament, making recommendations to the Government and then hold the Government to account on implementation. The National Infrastructure Assessment was published in July 2018.[10] The Assessment looks at the UK’s future economic infrastructure needs up to 2050 and makes recommendations for how to deliver new transport, low carbon energy and digital networks, how to recycle more and waste less, and how future infrastructure should be paid for. It aims to ensure the UK is prepared for the technological advances that will change how the country operates.

Current study[edit]

Regulation study[edit]

In October 2018, the government asked the Commission to conduct a new study into regulation of the UK’s energy, telecoms and water industries, to ensure the necessary levels of investment and innovation.[11]


The commission has published reports on infrastructure in the UK as well as recommendations for its improvement.

Smart Power[edit]

The first report, published in March 2016, looked into the UK energy market, exploring how supply and demand can better be balanced as well as making recommendations for future infrastructure programs.[12][13]

Transport for a World City[edit]

The second report, also published in March 2016, explored options for improving transport within and around the London area and strongly advocated the construction of Crossrail 2 as its main proposal.[14]

High Speed North[edit]

This March 2016 report explored options for improving connectivity across the North of England. Options include High Speed 3, upgrades to the motorway network, investment in conventional railways and a new Trans-pennine Tunnel.[15]

Connected Future[edit]

Connected Future (December 2016) explored what the UK needed to do to become a world leader in 5G deployment and take early advantage of the potential applications of 5G services. The commission found that Britain was 54th in the world for 4G and that the UK government and the communications regulator, Ofcom, needed to ensure that essential outdoor mobile services, such as basic, text and data use, were available all across the UK. In anticipation of 5G, the UK had to improve mobile connectivity on railways, roads and in towns and cities.[16]

Data for the Public Good[edit]

In November 2016, the government asked the commission to conduct a new study on how technology can improve infrastructure productivity. It was published in December 2017.[17]

Preparing for a drier future[edit]

This April 2018 document – published ahead of the National Infrastructure Assessment - sets out the Commission’s advice on how to address England’s water supply challenges and deliver the appropriate level of resilience for the long term.[18]

Better Delivery: the challenge for freight[edit]

This April 2019 study identified actions to enable UK’s freight networks to meet growing demands for fast deliveries and reduce their impact on congestion and the environment.[19]

Resilient infrastructure systems[edit]

The study considered what action government should take to ensure that the UK’s infrastructure can cope with future changes, disruptions, shocks and accidents. It looked at how resilience can be assessed and improved, including through better design and application of new technologies.[20] The report, Anticipate, React, Recover: Resilient infrastructure systems was published in May 2020.[21] The report prescribed a new framework to help support change across infrastructure sectors; it called for transparent standards of appropriate service levels, stress testing for major incidents and clearer direction for utilities providers to invest in long-term resilience.[22]


  1. ^ "Corporate Plan" (PDF). NIC. p. 16.
  2. ^ "Osborne launches National Infrastructure Commission". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 30 October 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  3. ^ "National Infrastructure Commission - About us". Gov.UK. Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  4. ^ "About – National Infrastructure Commission – GOV.UK". Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  5. ^ "Governance". National Infrastructure Commission.
  6. ^ "The UK's first ever National Infrastructure Assessment enters new phase – National Infrastructure Commission".
  7. ^ "Adonis appointed as permanent chair of National Infrastructure Commission". Infrastructure Intelligence.
  8. ^ "Read Lord Adonis' letter to PM in full as Labour peer quits as Govt's infrastructure tsar". Sky News.
  9. ^ "Who we are". National Infrastructure Commission.
  10. ^ "National Infrastructure Assessment 2018". National Infrastructure Commission.
  11. ^ "Regulation Study". National Infrastructure Commission.
  12. ^ "SMART POWER" (PDF). 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  13. ^ "Smart energy could save £8bn a year, say advisers". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  14. ^ "TRANSPORT FOR A WORLD CITY" (PDF). 9 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  15. ^ "HIGH SPEED NORTH" (PDF). 14 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-18.
  16. ^ "Connected Future – Completed Study – National Infrastructure Commission".
  17. ^ "Data for the Public Good". National Infrastructure Commission.
  18. ^ "Preparing for a drier future: England's water infrastructure needs". National Infrastructure Commission.
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Resilience Study". National Infrastructure Commission.
  21. ^ "A duty to prepare: vital infrastructure must be ready for the future, finds Commission (28 May 2020)". National Infrastructure Commission. NIC. Retrieved 1 June 2020.
  22. ^ O'Connor, Rob (27 May 2020). "Key infrastructure must remain resilient, says NIC". Infrastructure Intelligence. Retrieved 1 June 2020.