UK Government Urged to Accelerate Infrastructure Delivery to Avoid Economic Constraints and Climate Threats

The government's official advisers have warned that a failure to expedite plans for infrastructure delivery over the next five years could impede economic growth and jeopardize climate targets, as per the annual review by the (NIC).

Amidst disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the escalating cost-of-living crisis, the NIC's review paints a nuanced picture of progress towards crucial infrastructure objectives in the .

While acknowledging that the proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources surged to a record 47% in 2023 and steps have been taken to expedite the rollout of transmission infrastructure, concerns persist. Specifically, the NIC highlighted inadequacies in the planning system for wind developments, hindering the realization of its full potential.

The call for updated National Policy Statements for energy, national networks, and water resources seeks to streamline decision-making processes on major projects. However, the NIC emphasizes the need to expand community benefits for hosting infrastructure and streamline environmental assessments to further enhance progress.

The NIC's Infrastructure Progress Review 2024 underscores the necessity for a concerted catch-up program, accelerating policy implementation and delivery to ensure the country's infrastructure remains resilient for future challenges.

In its recent National Infrastructure Assessment, the NIC projected that public investment in infrastructure would need to increase to approximately £30 billion annually, alongside a corresponding rise in private investment to around £50 billion per year, compared to approximately £20 billion annually in the past decade.

Sir John Armitt, Chair of the Commission, stressed the urgency of the next five years, characterizing it as “a critical period for making decisions on things that are of immediate concern to the public – the three Ps of prices, potholes, and pollution.”

He emphasized, “A window remains to ensure that practical delivery plans are in place, backed up by the necessary public and private , to help achieve economic and environmental goals that will improve life for British households. But the window is closing, at least if we don't want to delay those benefits and compound the disruption of recent years.”

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