We invited Phil Graham, Chief Executive of the National Infrastructure Commission, to tell us why the National Infrastructure Strategy is so important.
Next month’s London Infrastructure Summit considers the capital’s priorities for the next decade.
I’m speaking and looking forward to discussing the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment – our fully costed, deliverable plan for the country’s infrastructure needs up to 2050 – ahead of the government’s much-anticipated National Infrastructure Strategy, its response to our Assessment.
I hope the strategy sets out an ambitious roadmap for infrastructure that builds on our recommendations.
Over recent decades, London has been a blueprint for how devolution of powers and funding can enable long-term and strategic infrastructure planning.
Our Assessment recognised that London has benefitted from broader powers over transport and funding for major upgrades such as Crossrail.
That’s why we recommended other cities should be able to emulate what London’s achieved, through £43bn of additional investment and new devolved powers.
Crucially, boosting infrastructure in the rest of UK needn’t come at London’s expense. Indeed, the Assessment offers plenty for the capital.
Our assessment showed that major investments such as HS2, Crossrail 2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail in the North are affordable, alongside the long-term improvements to the UK’s digital connectivity, low carbon energy generation, water supplies and flood resilience.
Alongside this, there should be sustained, long-term funding for Transport for London, which will allow progress to be made in delivering the Mayor’s transport strategy and support new jobs and homes.
But London also has priorities beyond transport.
Tackling climate change, for example. The Assessment offers solutions to enable a low carbon London and to prepare for climate change impacts such as an increased flooding risk and drought risk.
London will have to change how it powers and heats its buildings. We’ve said over the next decade decisions should be made by government on whether hydrogen or heat pumps are the best solution to replace natural gas for homes and businesses. More will need to be done to improve the energy efficiency of London’s building stock too.
Waste is a growing concern. Here, we’ve recommended new recycling standards and separate food and waste collections by 2025 to boost biogas generation.
100 per cent of new car and van sales by 2030 being electric would transform London’s roads and atmosphere, but drivers need encouragement to switch. So, alongside a national rapid charging network, we’ve recommended 20 per cent of council parking spaces should be available for charging points by 2025.
Ultimately, London will benefit from a successful National Infrastructure Strategy that’s ambitious, has clear goals each with implementation plans, and is appropriately funded.
It must give communities and businesses reassurance that the infrastructure they expect and need to thrive can, and will, be delivered.