Government infrastructure body stresses role to consider infrastructure and housing 'interaction'

The government's infrastructure advisory body has said that it will consider the 'interactions between infrastructure and housing' but stressed that considering housing as national infrastructure is beyond its remit.

Infrastructure: commission to advise government on national priorities
Infrastructure: commission to advise government on national priorities

In its response to a consultation on the process for putting together the UK’s first ever National Infrastructure Assessment, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) said that the consultation had revealed support "for considering the links between infrastructure and health, housing and fuel poverty, with some contributors wanting the commission to be tasked with covering housing and social infrastructure in detail".

"In particular the omission of housing was cited as a potentially serious flaw, and the commission was encouraged to make sure the interaction between housing, utilities and transport provision was considered", the document said.

The response said that "some of the comments received in this section (such as the suggestion that the commission should cover housing or extend its scope to cover social infrastructure) relate to issues that are not in the commission’s remit set by the government".

"The commission does intend, however, to consider the interactions between infrastructure and housing, in line with its remit", it said.

Elsewhere, the consultation response said that the NIC agreed that "it will be important to understand and take account of local plans that are relevant to nationally strategic infrastructure in considering such projects, and to work with relevant local bodies in understanding the evidence base".

However, it added, "in keeping with its independence, the commission will ultimately reach its own conclusions and make recommendations as appropriate. That may involve making recommendations to local decision-making bodies, including local and combined authorities, in which case it will be for those bodies to decide how to respond".

The NIC has also issued a call for evidence "to provide input into the development of its National Infrastructure Assessment, and encourages all interested parties to submit evidence, ideas and solutions".

Among its questions, the document asks "what changes could be made to the planning system and infrastructure governance arrangements to ensure infrastructure is delivered as efficiently as possible and on time".

The NIC is due to publish its first National Infrastructure Assessment - an analysis of the UK’s infrastructure needs over a 10 to 30 year horizon - in 2018.

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