Closed consultation

National Infrastructure Commission call for evidence

Updated 16 May 2016


The National Infrastructure Commission is a new, independent body which will look broadly at long-term infrastructure needs and provide impartial advice to ministers and Parliament.

Before next year’s Budget, we will publish on three national challenges:

  1. Improving connectivity between cities in the north of England

  2. Large-scale transport infrastructure improvements in London

  3. Improving how electricity demand and supply are balanced

For each of these studies, we will engage with the relevant government departments, regulators and delivery organisations, including Network Rail, TfL and the National Grid as we develop our thinking. We are also keen to gather evidence and ideas from local government, businesses, service providers, users and others to support and shape this work.

Hence this call for evidence, which sets out the key questions for each of the three reports.

We look forward to receiving submissions, and thank you in advance for your engagement.

Andrew Adonis Interim Chair

November 2015

1. Introduction


The National Infrastructure Commission was established by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in October 2015 with Andrew Adonis appointed as its interim Chair. The other members of the Commission are:


The role of the Commission will be to carry out independent and unbiased assessments of the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs and to monitor the government’s and industry’s progress in meeting them. We will periodically publish a National Infrastructure Assessment looking across all key sectors and geographies.

This will identify the UK’s long-term infrastructure requirements and prioritise the most important projects for further development. It will give clear strategic direction to industry and government and provide a firm basis for planning and investment.


Alongside this, the Commission has also been tasked with carrying out specific studies of pressing infrastructure challenges. We will publish advice to the government before the 2016 Budget on three areas:

  • northern connectivity, particularly identifying priorities for future investment in the north’s strategic transport infrastructure to improve connectivity between cities, especially east-west across the Pennines
  • London’s transport system, particularly reviewing strategic options for future investment in large-scale transport improvements – on road, rail and underground – including Crossrail 2
  • energy, reviewing how the UK can better balance electricity supply and demand.


The full terms of reference for these three studies were published on 30 October 2015 and is available here. It is important to note that we have not been asked to prioritise between these three issues, but simply to make recommendations on next steps in each case.


In taking forward the three studies, the Commission will engage closely with government (both local and national), regulators, infrastructure owners and operators, and the wider transport and energy industries.

It will consider and, where necessary, build upon the substantial work already underway in these areas, including by Transport for the North and HS2 Ltd on potential new inter-city links in the north, by Transport for London and Network Rail on the case for Crossrail 2, and by DECC and Ofgem on the options for balancing supply and demand in the energy industry.


It is important to seek broader input into our work and new perspectives on the problems that we have been asked to consider.

Our approach will be outward-facing and transparent, encouraging all interested parties to submit ideas and evidence, and setting out clearly the analysis which underpins our recommendations.

This call for evidence provides an opportunity for those with an interest to make submissions, and is focused on our three initial studies.


We would strongly encourage those making submissions to provide details of the evidence and data which support their arguments, to enable the Commission to understand more fully the basis on which conclusions have been reached.

1. Connecting northern cities


In line with the published terms of reference regarding future investment in the north’s transport infrastructure, the Commission is seeking to establish the extent of existing evidence regarding likely growth and connectivity requirements across the north of England.

The questions that the Commission are particularly keen to focus on in this initial phase of work are:

1. To what extent are weaknesses in transport connectivity holding back northern city regions (specifically in terms of jobs, enterprise creation and growth, and housing)?

2. What cost-effective infrastructure investments in city-to-city connectivity could address these weaknesses? We are interested in all modes of transport.

3. Which city-to-city corridor(s) should be the priority for early phases of investment?

4. What are the key international connectivity needs likely to be in the next 20-30 years in the north of England (with a focus on ports and airports)? What is the most effective way to meet these needs, and what constraints on delivery are anticipated?

 5. What form of governance would most effectively deliver transformative infrastructure in the north, how should this be funded and by whom, including appropriate local contributions?


In answering these questions it may be particularly helpful to make reference to international experience and, where possible, data relating to transport accessibility, regional trade flows, and regional business networks.


It would also be beneficial for respondees to indicate the available evidence to support the points made, and also to highlight gaps in the evidence base.

3. London’s transport infrastructure


In line with the published terms of reference, the Commission is reviewing the evidence base and the strategic options for future investment in large-scale transport infrastructure improvements in London.

The questions that the Commission is particularly keen to focus on in this initial phase of work are:

1. What are the major economic and social challenges facing London and its commuter hinterland over the next two to three decades?

2. What are the strategic options for future investment in large-scale transport infrastructure improvements in London - on road, rail and underground - including, but not limited to Crossrail 2?

  • How should they be prioritised, taking account of their response to London’s strategic transport challenges, including their impact on capacity, reliability, journey times and connectivity to jobs?
  • What might their potential impact be on employment, productivity and housing supply in London and the southeast?

3. What opportunities are there to increase the benefits and reduce the costs of the proposed Crossrail 2 scheme?

4. What are the options for the funding, financing and delivery of large-scale transport infrastructure improvements in London, including Crossrail 2?

  • What is an appropriate local and regional contribution - given the potential distribution of benefits to business, residents, transport users and the wider economy - and how could this be achieved?
  • What innovative funding mechanisms could be considered to support delivery of key schemes?

 5. How have major metropolitan areas in other countries responded to similar challenges and priorities? Are there any lessons to be learned and applied in London?


Please note that the Commission will not be considering questions relating to airport capacity. The Airports Commission has already examined this issue in detail.

4. Electricity interconnection and storage


In line with the published terms of reference, the Commission is seeking evidence on how changes to existing market frameworks, increased interconnection and new technologies in demand-side management and energy storage can better balance supply and demand.

1. What changes may need to be made to the electricity market to ensure that supply and demand are balanced, whilst minimising cost to consumers, over the long-term?

  • What role can changes to the market framework play to incentivise this outcome:
    • Is there a need for an independent system operator (SO)? How could the incentives faced by the SO be set to minimise long-run balancing costs?
    • Is there a need to further reform the “balancing market” and which market participants are responsible for imbalances?
  • To what extent can demand-side management measures and embedded generation be used to increase the flexibility of the electricity system?

 2. What are the barriers to the deployment of energy storage capacity?

  • Are there specific market failures/barriers that prevent investment in energy storage that are not faced by other ‘balancing’ technologies? How might these be overcome?
  • What is the most appropriate scale for future energy storage technologies in the UK? (i.e. transmission network scale, the distributed network or the domestic scale.)

 3. What level of electricity interconnection is likely to be in the best interests of consumers?

  • Is there a case for building interconnection out to a greater capacity or more rapidly than the current ‘cap and floor’ regime would allow beyond 2020? If so, why do you think the current arrangements are not sufficient to incentivise this investment?
  • Are there specific market failures/barriers that prevent investment in electricity interconnection that are not faced by other ‘balancing’ technologies? How might these be overcome?

4. What can the UK learn from international best practice in terms of dealing with changes in energy technology when planning to balance supply and demand?

5. How to Respond


The evidence submitted will inform the Commission’s understanding of the wider issues surrounding the three initial projects we have been asked to examine.

Submissions of evidence should be no longer than 10 pages and should be emailed to the appropriate email address:

Please provide submissions and evidence by 8 January 2016.


Evidence will be reviewed thereafter by the Commission. If further information or clarification is required, the Commission Secretariat will be in touch.

In exceptional circumstances we will accept submissions in hard copy. If you need to submit a hard copy, please send your response to the Commission Secretariat at the following address:

National Infrastructure Commission
1 Horse Guards Road


We may publish any submissions made; if you believe there is a reason why your submission or any part of your submission should be considered confidential please provide details.

The Commission is subject to legal duties which may require the release of information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or any other applicable legislation or codes of practice governing access to information.