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Consultation on infrastructure commission underway

2000 infrastructure

A consultation on the function of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has been launched by the Government.

The exercise, more than two months after the eight-member body was announced, is being run by the Treasury and will collect views on the governance, structure and operation of the NIC.

The 10-week consultation will close on 17 March, the day after the Budget, ahead of which the NIC will produce reports looking at three initial subjects.

Its first reports will be on future energy infrastructure; northern transport connectivity, include a trans-Pennine link; and investment in London’s transport infrastructure.

While it will have no executive function, the commission is expected to produce a report outlining the UK’s most pressing infrastructure needs at the beginning of every five-year Parliament.

The consultation has been launched at the end of week in which Government watchdog the National Audit Office (NAO) revealed that one in three of major public sector projects due to finish in the next five years were in doubt.

In a report on the Government’s major projects portfolio, the NAO cited a number of issues with the delivery of infrastructure projects, including “a lack of clear accountability for leadership”.

NIC chair Lord Adonis said: “We need to improve the way we plan and deliver major infrastructure projects in this country. This consultation sets out how a strong and independent NIC can do exactly that.

“With statutory power, the NIC will help to establish the country’s long-term strategic needs and hold the Government to account.

“Infrastructure failure results in the unnecessary chaos, costs and congestion [that] too many of us are forced to put up with each and every day. This is an opportunity we must not waste.”

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