Detail of outcome
In October the Treasury and the NIC undertook a joint call for ideas for what priority studies the NIC should undertake. Both organisations are very grateful for the strong response. After careful sifting and discussion, at Autumn Statement 2016 the Chancellor announced a study on technology to improve infrastructure productivity. A summary of the process and ideas received follows.
Over 200 responses were received. There were around 90 relating to transport and 70 to energy, with the remainder spread across digital, cross-cutting, finance and water/ waste /environment categories.
Entries were received from a range of groups:
- industry & trade bodies
- private sector, including energy & telecoms, aviation, engineering & construction companies
- a number of public bodies, local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships
- individual citizens
The ideas were very diverse, but some key themes were as follows:
- energy: decarbonising heat, energy efficiency, carbon capture & storage (CCS), the energy mix in 2050
- transport: understanding cross-modal connectivity, and how transport relates to other types of infrastructure
- water and waste / environment: flood-risk management, water-supply between regions
- cross-cutting: role of regulation, systems-level thinking on infrastructure, cross-infrastructure decision-making & value assessments, how to promote innovation across infrastructure, understanding the link with productivity, better infrastructure maintenance
- finance: alternative financing models, long term funding of roads, review of PFIs
- digital infrastructure: broadband coverage, preparing for 5G, future capacity needs of core digital infrastructure, supporting the growth of the digital economy through service digitisation
- technology: disruptive technology, electrifying transport, Electric Vehicles, innovation drivers across energy & transport
The government, after consulting the NIC, decided that a study on technology to improve infrastructure productivity was the immediate priority for a NIC study. This reflected the views of a number of stakeholders who emphasised in the call for ideas the transformative impact new technology could have on the way we manage our infrastructure.
The government and the NIC are looking at a number of the issues raised in this Call for Ideas. Some will feed into the long term National Infrastructure Assessment, while others will be considered for future NIC studies. Others will be considered by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority who will lead a review to identify ways the government, working with industry, can improve the quality, cost and performance of our infrastructure.
Finally, both the government and the NIC are very grateful for the time taken and efforts made by respondents, which have provided a strong set of ideas. The NIC is an important resource for the future of the UK, and it is important that its in-depth studies focus on key priorities.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, together with the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has launched a call for ideas for the NIC’s future specific studies. This call for ideas is open to everyone and the Chancellor would particularly welcome views from infrastructure experts, operators, business representative groups and investors. The call for ideas is open for three weeks and the Chancellor will announce the topic of the next study or studies later this year.