ICE policy position statement: what should be in the second National Infrastructure Assessment?

ICE sets out what should be in the National Infrastructure Commission’s second NIA to ensure the public get the infrastructure that they need.

  • Updated: 18 October 2021
  • Author: David Hawkes, Lead Policy Manager

The first National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA1), published in 2018, represented a significant milestone in the UK’s strategic infrastructure planning regime.

The recommendations within NIA1 later led to the creation of the government’s landmark National Infrastructure Strategy.

But the past few years have seen the direction of policy change and new demand drivers emerge. The second National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA2) will not be published until 2023, but work is already underway looking at what has changed over the past few years and what needs to be prioritised so that infrastructure development meets societal needs while minimising environmental impacts.

This ICE policy position statement has drawn on the views of the infrastructure and civil engineering communities to look ahead to the challenges of the future and set out what should be in NIA2.

Recommendations

Climate action and sustainability

The second National Infrastructure Assessment should:

  • Align with the Climate Change Committee’s (CCC) Sixth Carbon Budget and consider the governance required to deliver net-zero infrastructure systems.
  • Fully consider the carbon impacts of proposed infrastructure interventions to the same extent that fiscal and economic impacts are considered.
  • Explore how infrastructure investment can be used to drive wider efforts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Existing infrastructure assets and networks

The second National Infrastructure Assessment should:

  • Set out the state of existing infrastructure networks and the maintenance required to bring them up to an acceptable level that meets national goals.
  • Undertake scenario analysis on a systems basis in order to account for the potential impacts – short, medium and long-term – of Covid-19 on infrastructure networks.
  • Ensure nationwide digital connectivity to allow fair opportunity for all, alongside improving connections for future use.
  • Explore the growing role and impact of individually owned assets as part of the infrastructure system.

Delivering infrastructure

The second National Infrastructure Assessment should:

  • Make recommendations for how infrastructure decision-making governance should evolve, in order to enable local government to commit to clear pathways for infrastructure interventions over the long term.
  • Provide guidance and benchmarks to the government on how long investment programmes should take to complete.

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