The National Infrastructure Commission is calling on the Government to put in place a long-term strategy to deliver a nationwide standard of flood resilience by 2050 – with funding for flood risk management increasing significantly over the coming decades.
The call is among a range of recommendations the Commission has made in the first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment published today on how the identified infrastructure needs and priorities of the country should be addressed.
The Government will now be required to formally respond to the NIC recommendations no more than a year after publication, and wherever possible within six months.
Issues addressed in the wide-ranging Assessment include:
- Low carbon energy – making a switch to low-carbon and renewable sources for both the country’s power and heating, combined with a move towards electric vehicles, would mean the customer of 2050 would pay the same in real terms for their energy as today
- Digital technology – that the Government devise a National Broadband Plan by Spring 2019, to deliver full fibre connections across the whole of the country, including those in rural areas – this should ensure that the technology is available to 15 million homes and businesses by 2025, 25 million by 2030, and all homes and businesses by 2033
- The future for the nation’s roads – that the Government work with councils and private companies to deliver a national network of charging points for electric vehicles and ensures that the impacts of connected and autonomous vehicles are taken into account when planning for the next rail control period and road investment strategy;
- Encouraging growth of cities – that Metro Mayors and city leaders develop and implement long-term strategies for transport, employment and housing in their areas, to support economic growth, with new powers and devolved infrastructure budgets. The National Infrastructure Assessment’s spending plans include funding for projects including Crossrail 2 in London, and Northern Powerhouse Rail linking the major Northern cities, and recommends a boost in funding for major cities totalling £43 billion to 2040, with cities given stable five-year budgets, starting in 2021;
- Tackling floods – that the Government should put in place a long-term strategy to deliver a nationwide standard of flood resilience by 2050 with funding for flood risk management increasing significantly over the coming decades. Ten years on from Pitt Review, Government still needs to do more on flood protection
- Cutting waste – that new national rules for what can and cannot be recycled be introduced, with restrictions on the hardest-to-recycle plastics, aimed at increasing rates and reducing the amount of plastics going to incinerators. This would also mean that all food waste is separated making it available to create biogas, so it can be used to heat people’s homes and potentially as a transport fuel. Click here to read the report.
Bruce Horton writes: ‘Having previously backed new nuclear on a grand scale, the NIC has finally cottoned on to the fact that renewables are far more cost-effective. On water, the Commission is still calling for inter-regional transfers and new reservoirs. On the demand side, its recommendations focus on leakage and metering. Perhaps by the time of the next report, the Commission will recognise the potential for water efficiency? It also calls on the Government to put in place a long-term strategy to deliver a nationwide standard of flood resilience by 2050 with funding for flood risk management increasing significantly over the coming decades.’