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A post-National Infrastructure Strategy review: ICE discussion paper and consultation

09 April 2021

The publication of the National Infrastructure Strategy in November 2020 and the recent NIC Annual Monitoring Report marks the end of the first round of infrastructure planning in the UK using the new approach outlined when the National Infrastructure Commission was founded in 2015.

The National Infrastructure Commission’s Framework Document commits HM Treasury to conduct a review of ‘the NIC’s performance and delivery on its core objectives and responsibilities’ at least once every five years, as well as reviewing ‘the need for its function, its form of delivery, its efficiency, its governance and its relationship with the department’. This review is due in the next 12 months.

The second round of national infrastructure planning will also begin later this year and ICE believes the time is right to look at what worked, what didn’t and what needs to change in order to deliver this strategic infrastructure plan more effectively for the public.

This is your chance to contribute to recommendations on how to improve the system.


  1. The NIC’s scope is defined as economic infrastructure. Would broadening this scope help it deliver better strategic infrastructure planning outcomes?
  2. Are there any implications for strategic infrastructure planning when government-commissioned reviews on economic infrastructure are conducted outside the NIC?
  3. Should there be a fiscal remit to guide the NIC? If yes, how should this remit be determined?
  4. Should additional remits be outlined in addition to the fiscal and economic remit, for example, carbon?
  5. What evidence is there that the new approach to strategic infrastructure planning has brought benefits to the processes, behaviours and practices for infrastructure decision-making?
  6. What early or proxy signs would make the benefits outlined in paragraph 10 of this document more tangible, and so easier to track?
  7. Are there any benefits that haven’t been realised from the new strategic infrastructure planning process? If so, why might this be?
  8. What are the implications of the NIC not having statutory independence?
  9. How have changes to the infrastructure planning ecosystem, including new institutions, altered the system for strategic infrastructure planning? Has this been for the better?
  10. Is there a need for more formal joint working between the organisations involved in the infrastructure planning ecosystem? If yes, how could this be achieved?
  11. What impact did a delay in responding to the NIA have on strategic infrastructure planning? How could this be avoided in the future?
  12. Would Parliamentary involvement help to improve the process of strategic infrastructure planning? How could this be achieved?
  13. What process is needed to ensure the NIS is used to underpin relevant decisions on infrastructure going forward, such as amendments to National Policy Statements or the duties of regulators?
  14. Should the NIC indicate on an annual basis any changes to the evidence base that underpins its recommendations?
  15. Are any other changes needed to the process of strategic infrastructure planning in the UK to support the delivery of stable long-term decisions on infrastructure priorities?

A post-National Infrastructure Strategy review: ICE discussion paper and consultation

Content type: Policy

Last updated: April 2021

Authors: ICE

  • Chris Richards, director of policy at Institution of Civil Engineers