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Infrastructure tsar calls for Government policy and planning reset

Britain’s infrastructure tsar Sir John Armitt is calling for a Government reset on decision-making if the country is to deliver vital energy, transport and other key networks over the next 30 years.

The head of the National Infrastructure Commission said the time had come to make good decisions at pace and end a stop/start approach to infrastructure planning.

In the second five-year National Infrastructure Assessment, Sir John says the vital infrastructure the country needs is possible with the Government’s long-term funding guidelines.

However, greater policy stability is necessary to attract the private sector funding to supplement public investment.

Infrastructure tsar’s main recommendations

  • Backing electrification as the only viable option for decarbonising buildings at scale
  • Government fully subsidises the costs of installing a heat pumps for one third of households – based on income – and offers £7,000 support to all others
  • Creating a new strategic energy reserve to boost Great Britain’s economic security
  • Major public transport upgrades in England’s most congested cities to unlock economic growth, and an urgent and comprehensive review of rail priorities for the North and the Midlands following government’s recent decision on High Speed 2
  • better maintenance of existing roads and targeted enhancements on the national road network
  • Building additional water supply infrastructure and reducing leakage, move to compulsory water metering
  • Urgently implementing reforms to meet a 65% recycling target by 2035, and phasing out energy from waste plants without carbon capture facilities.

In addition, the Commission calls on the government to rule out the use of hydrogen for heating and focus the emerging hydrogen economy on power generation and industrial decarbonisation.

“A pivotal moment in time”

Sir John said the report was probably the “most comprehensive assessment yet of the infrastructure costs associated with supporting regional growth and reaching net zero”.

He said: “We stand at a pivotal moment in time, with the opportunity to make a major difference to this country’s future. But we need to get on with it.

“People often talk about infrastructure as the backbone of our economy: what our infrastructure needs now is the collective mettle to turn commitments into action that will reap rewards for decades to come.”