National Infrastructure Strategy

CECA Chief Executive Alasdair Reisner writes on the forthcoming National Infrastructure Strategy.

In spite of the ongoing political uncertainties, CECA is looking ahead to the publication of the National Infrastructure Strategy this autumn, which will set the long term agenda for the development of world-class infrastructure in England.

The strategy will be a response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s National Needs Assessment, published last year, setting out the nation’s long-term strategic needs in transport, water, digital technologies, waste and energy.

The Assessment’s spending plans included funding for projects including Crossrail 2 in London, and Northern Powerhouse Rail and it recommended a major boost in funding for key cities with stable five-year budgets, starting in 2021.

CECA campaigned for many years for an infrastructure commission, to resolve the short-termism and lack of long-term strategy that has historically undermined the delivery of major infrastructure projects in the UK, and we broadly support the findings in the NIC’s report.

What is extremely important for our members is visibility of pipeline and we call on the Government to continue to develop and clarify this to secure long term economic and social growth across the whole of the UK. This means that alongside the development of nationally significant infrastructure projects, it is imperative that the UK Government supports the roll out of reliable road and rail infrastructure combined with substantial improvements to local transport and infrastructure.

We are disappointed that a succession of governments has failed to provide a solid indication of what the future will look like to enable those who will deliver it and their communities to understand their role in creating a world-class, reliable energy network.

Nuclear power still plays a key role in the UK’s energy mix. While the NIC recommended Government delay support for more than one nuclear power station beyond Hinkley Point C before 2025, we continue to argue that the UK’s future energy supply must be delivered via a mixed portfolio of low-carbon generation, including new nuclear in order to deliver consistent and reliable energy across the UK and meet carbon reduction targets.

The publication of the National Infrastructure Strategy, working in partnership with National Infrastructure Commissions in Scotland and Wales is a much welcome step in the delivery of the vital infrastructure needed to ensure the whole of the UK remains an attractive place to live and work.