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ICE discussion paper and consultation: what should be in the next National Infrastructure Assessment?

02 August 2021

The National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) is a cornerstone of the UK’s strategic infrastructure planning regime. The first NIA was released in July 2018 and represented the first cross-sector assessment of its kind in the UK.

The second NIA will explore changes to policy and demand drivers that underpinned the first and is due for publication in the second half of 2023. Key themes identified by the NIC so far include net zero, levelling-up and climate resilience.

The assessment is a thorough process – work is underway now by the NIC to create a baseline assessment of the current state of key infrastructure sectors. The baseline assessment will be published for consultation later this year, alongside the NIC’s proposals for the strategic themes and main priorities it will explore as part of the second NIA.

There are a number of factors – the 2050 net-zero target, changes to demand brought about by Covid-19, more frequent and intense extreme weather events – that will place new and challenging demands on the UK’s infrastructure, from the way and frequency of how we travel, through to our energy-generating capabilities and consumption habits, water provision and resilience to the effects of climate change.

At this early stage in the second NIA’s process, ICE is keen to gather evidence and views from infrastructure professionals and civil engineers across a short number of key questions:

  • Which assumptions around future demand, which sat behind the first NIA, are still valid? And which need fundamental review?
  • Within each of the three currently identified themes for the second NIA (net zero, levelling-up, climate resilience), what should be the core considerations for infrastructure by sector and region?
  • Are there other issues outside these three themes that should be explored in the second NIA to deliver against the NIC’s objectives?
  • How can the second NIA move the UK closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through infrastructure interventions?
  • Responses should be sent to Policy. The consultation will close on Friday 3rd September 2021.

The findings from responses to this paper will support ICE’s submission to the NIC’s autumn consultation on its emerging thinking. The findings will also be analysed alongside concurrent ICE work on pathways to decarbonisation and defining and measuring the outcomes from levelling-up. This will be formed into a policy paper with recommendations and areas that the second NIA should consider.

ICE discussion paper and consultation: what should be in the next National Infrastructure Assessment?

Content type: Policy

Last updated: August 2021

Authors: ICE

  • David Hawkes, head of policy at ICE