Last edited 13 Jul 2018

National Infrastructure Assessment 2018

Established in 2015, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is an independent body tasked with providing advice to the Government about how best to meet the country’s long-term infrastructure needs. This includes; transport, energy, digital, water, waste and flood defences. It is charged with delivering a National Infrastructure Assessment once every five years.

The first National Infrastructure Assessment was published on 10 July 2018, setting out recommendations for improving the country’s infrastructure network up to 2050. It suggests there is a ‘golden opportunity’ to provide low-carbon energy to homes and businesses without increasing bills, but calls on Ministers to act now.

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NIC chair Sir John Armitt proposes that a switch towards low-carbon and renewable sources for power and heating, and a move towards electric vehicles, could mean the customer of 2050 would pay the same in real terms for their energy as today. But he warns this would only be possible if the government continues to invest in low-cost renewable technologies, increases efforts to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and enables a rapid switch to electric vehicles.

The assessment recommends that:

  • The Government takes steps to ensure a minimum of 50 per cent of electricity comes from renewables in 2030.
  • The Government only agrees support for one more nuclear plant before 2025.
  • Established technologies like wind and solar power should be allowed to compete to deliver the overwhelming majority of the extra renewable electricity needed.
  • The feasibility of hydrogen and heat pumps as low-carbon alternatives to oil and gas for heating should be established.
  • Efforts should be ramped up to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.
  • £3.8 billion should be invested between now and 2030 to make improvements to social housing stock.
  • The Government should devise a National Broadband Plan by Spring 2019.
  • The Government should work with councils and private companies to deliver a national network of charging points for electric vehicles.
  • Metro Mayors and city leaders should develop and implement long-term strategies for transport, employment and housing in their areas.
  • The Government should develop a long-term strategy to deliver a nationwide standard of flood resilience by 2050.
  • New national rules should be developed for what can and cannot be recycled.

Armitt said; “Whether for cooking, lighting, keeping homes warm or electric cars on the road, where the UK’s energy comes from will need to change radically over the coming decades if the UK is to meet its legally-binding climate change targets… Ministers can seize this chance by investing in renewables and other low-carbon technologies so they become the main players in our energy system – something that was considered a pipedream as little as a decade ago. But they need to act now to realise the full potential of what can be achieved.”

The Charter for the NIC requires that the Government responds to its recommendations no more than a year after publication, and wherever possible within six months.

You can access the assessment here: https://www.nic.org.uk/publications/national-infrastructure-assessment-2018/

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