Five cities to work with government infrastructure body to develop housing and transport plans

The government's infrastructure adviser, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), will work directly with five cities, towns and city regions across England to help them develop strategies to deliver new housing and infrastructure, the body has announced.

Transport infrastructure: NIC to work directly with English cities
Transport infrastructure: NIC to work directly with English cities

In a statement, the NIC said that five cities, towns and city regions had been selected to work with it, "to benefit from expert advice as they develop strategies to improve local transport connections, unlock job opportunities and deliver much-needed new homes".

The areas are:

  • Cities in the West Yorkshire Combined Authority area - Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield
  • The Liverpool City Region
  • Derby
  • Basildon in Essex
  • Exeter in Devon

The NIC said that the five areas would have access to advice and support from its officials plus mentoring and guidance from other cities and "leading experts" including the Centre for Cities think-tank.

The statement said that the areas "will become case studies to demonstrate what cities across the country can do in this area".

The NIC also said all 45 of England’s largest cities will have "the chance to share information and expertise" at a series of events due take place across the country in the New Year, hosted by the body.

In its first National Infrastructure Assessment, published in July, the NIC recommended that city leaders and metro mayors should develop and implement "integrated strategies for transport, employment and housing" and be granted greater planning decision-making powers by 2021. 

It also recommended that ministers provide new powers and £43 billion funding on top of current spending levels between now and 2040 to city leaders including metro mayors, to develop long-term strategies for improving transport links.

In October's Budget, ministers pledged to publish next year a "comprehensive National Infrastructure Strategy" setting out the government's priorities for economic infrastructure. The strategy will include a formal response to the National Infrastructure Assessment. 

Sir John Armitt, NIC chairman, said: "Our cities are vital to our economy – but their ability to reach their true potential is stymied by poor public transport and traffic congestion.  The solution to this won’t come from Whitehall but from Town Halls.

"Our new partnership programme will help our five chosen cities to design plans to improve their local transport – which in turn will demonstrate the real benefits that devolving funding for the long-term will bring."

Earlier this week, the government’s draft aviation strategy said that ministers are to ask the NIC to examine the case for additional runways at airports across the country.


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