Congestion, Capacity and Carbon: Priorities for National Infrastructure

The first interim National Infrastructure Assessment was published by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) on Friday 13 October and sets out the vision and priorities for helping meet the country’s strategic infrastructure needs up to 2050. The Assessment, which is out for consultation until 12 January 2018, identifies seven priorities:

  1. Building a digital society: fast, reliable data services everywhere
  2. Connected, liveable city-regions: linking homes and jobs
  3. New homes and communities: supporting delivery of new homes
  4. Low-cost, low-carbon: ending emissions from power, heat and waste
  5. Revolutionising road transport: seizing the opportunities of electric and autonomous vehicles
  6. Reducing the risks of extreme weather: making sure the UK can stand up to drought and flooding
  7. Financing infrastructure in efficient ways: getting the right balance between public and private sectors

Growing pressures

With regards to reducing the risks of extreme weather, the Assessment highlights the growing pressures of climate change, increasing population, higher environmental standards on ageing infrastructure. It suggests that low public awareness and a focus on short-term value have constrained the necessary actions with intervention being catalysed in response to major events rather than a long term strategic approach.

The Commission is keen to explore how Government, Risk Management Authorities and the water industry can take a longer-term, more joined-up perspective on flooding, drainage and sewerage to stay ahead of risks and deliver on people’s expectations and ambitions. Green infrastructure measures to improve drainage and flood risk management are recognised as being beneficial to the wider environment. However, they need to be supported by traditional defences with a key requirement to be clear about the protection that can be delivered for different levels of funding across the range of risk management approaches.

JBA involvement

We are proud to have contributed to the National Infrastructure Assessment through the development of an initial set of quantitative performance measures. These will be used to establish an understanding of the status of the UK’s existing infrastructure assets and how this changes over time. Working with SDG Economic Development, Temple and GreySky, we identified initial performance metrics for the key sectors of digital communications, energy, flood risk management, transport, waste and water. We also considered the implications of sector interdependencies with respect to resilience, quality and sustainability. You can read the full report on the NIC website.

Want to know?

Contact Rachel Brisley, our Lead for Sustainability and Climate Change, for more information of our involvement in the National Infrastructure Assessment. You can also visit our Climate Change webpage.

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