Armitt confirmed as permanent chair of National Infrastructure Commission

Sir John Armitt CBE has been announced as the new permanent chairman of the government's infrastructure advisory body, replacing Lord Adonis who resigned last month.

Sir John Armitt CBE
Sir John Armitt CBE

Adonis announced his resignation as chair of the independent National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) at the end of December.

In his resignation letter, Adonis said his work at the NIC had become "increasingly clouded" by disagreement with the government over the European Union Withdrawal Bill, which he described as "the worst legislation of my lifetime".

Earlier this month it was announced that Armitt, the body’s then deputy chair, would temporarily take over as chair while a permanent replacement was found.

But today, a statement from HM Treasury said that Armitt would take on the role on a permanent basis.

Armitt said: "Making the right choices about planning and investing in infrastructure is critical to the UK’s prosperity and quality of life. I want the commission to remain focused on tackling the long-term issues of congestion, capacity and carbon – and to continue to hold the government to account where decisive action is needed – so we can secure the improvements that companies, communities and families need".

Lord Adonis’ departure came at a critical time for the NIC, which is due to unveil its first national infrastructure assessment (NIA) this summer. The deadline for responses to its initial vision and priorities document, published in October, expires today (18 January).

In November, Armitt called for the creation of a "national spatial policy" to pull together the government's planning for industry, infrastructure and housing. Speaking at a dinner in London, Armitt said that "spatial planning has to be the starting point" for coherent planning for industry, infrastructure and housing. One of the reasons that such steps were needed, he said, was because current government policy would not be enough in itself to solve the shortage of affordable housing.

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