Infrastructure is vital for productivity and growth. The choices that we make about infrastructure enable us to shape the type of economy we want for the future. Investment in infrastructure helps to unlock economic potential in individual regions and ensure that growth and opportunities are distributed evenly across the country.
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) provides expert, impartial advice to the government on infrastructure. Although operationally independent, the NIC is currently in interim form.
The NIC’s objectives are to:
- foster long-term and sustainable economic growth across all regions of the UK
- improve the UK’s international competitiveness
- improve the quality of life for those living in the UK
The core purpose of the NIC is to set out a clear picture of the future infrastructure we need, including through an in-depth assessment of the UK’s major infrastructure needs on a 30-year time horizon - known as a National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA).
2. Specific studies
In addition to the NIA, the NIC also undertakes specific studies to advise government on immediate priorities or particular challenges that need to be addressed. In 2016, the NIC has already advised government on transport in the North of England 1 and London 2, and energy flexibility 3. It is currently working on studies on 5G connectivity and the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge economic corridor.
Whilst the NIC conducts its specific studies and makes recommendations independently of government, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, on behalf of the government (and in consultation with the NIC) is responsible for deciding which studies to commission.
3. Purpose of this call for ideas
The Chancellor, together with the NIC, has decided that he would like to give anyone with an interest in this field an opportunity to contribute their ideas for issues which could form the subject of future NIC studies. This process will help us ensure the NIC is focused on the country’s most critical infrastructure challenges.
4. Submitting your idea
This call for ideas is open to everyone. We would particularly welcome views from infrastructure experts, operators, business representative groups and investors.
The NIC examines economic infrastructure, which concerns: transport, energy, water, waste, digital and flood risk management. It does not include the built environment of houses, schools, hospitals or commercial property – these are out of scope – although it does consider the implications of its recommendations for these sectors.
We would welcome ideas that meet the following criteria:
- Does the suggestion deal with a nationally significant issue?
- Does the suggestion need to be considered now?
- Does the study deal with a challenging issue?
- Would any potential recommendations be realistic in terms of cost?
- Would the NIC add value by considering this issue?
For ideas that do not meet these criteria, but that are still important, please contact the appropriate arm of either local or central government. If you wish to contact a specific government department in connection to their responsibilities, please use the contact facilities on their departmental website. You can find the website for your local council here.
The government will not publish a formal response to this call for ideas exercise, but will publish a summary of the main ideas contributed later in the year.
Please remain within the allocated word limit. The call for ideas is open from 12 October - 2 November 2016. We can only accept entries in Microsoft Word or RTF format.