East Midlands leaders have met with the National Infrastructure Commission to discuss future transport network, housing, flood defence and other major structural needs of the region.
The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) provides expert, impartial advice to Government on the UK’s infrastructure needs. Its recently published National Infrastructure Assessment, the first of its kind for the UK, identifies economic infrastructure needs over the next 30 years and sets out a strategic vision on how to meet them.
Devolving additional funding and powers to cities such as Derby and Nottingham – for them to produce long-term plans for transport, housing and employment – is a key recommendation of the National Infrastructure Assessment.
Sir John Armitt CBE and Julia Prescot, the Chair and Commissioner of the NIC, met with representatives from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership; Derby City, Derbyshire County, Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County councils; East Midlands Chamber; and universities and business leaders in Derby before viewing major projects sites in the city centre, proposed or already underway.
Derby is one of five UK areas set to benefit from the Commission’s support and advice, as leaders develop a strategy to transform the city’s transport connections.
Among the Derby city centre sites viewed were the:
- £100million Castleward housing scheme, which will see 800 homes built between Derby Midland Station and the city centre;
- works at Sowter Road, part of the £90m ‘Our City, Our River’ flood defence and riverside regeneration project;
- the soon-to-be revitalised Becketwell site.
Each of the locations has received funding from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, via its Local Growth Fund allocation from the Government.
Commenting on their Derby visit, Sir John Armitt, Chair of the NIC, said: “We are pleased to have begun work with Derby City Council to help them deliver an effective strategy to link transport, employment and housing.
“This work is just one element of the Commission’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment, which proposes radically increased investment in urban transport as part of a whole suite of measures that could enhance the lives of residents and business owners across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.
“We have been impressed by the enthusiasm amongst local leaders for the vision we have set out, and today they add their voices to our call for the Government to deliver an ambitious National Infrastructure Strategy.”
David Williams, Deputy Chair of the D2N2 LEP – who chaired yesterday’s meeting – said: “Having the right infrastructure to meet needs including around transport, housing, flood defence and digital connectivity is vital if the regional and wider UK economy is to grow. That is why the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, and its public and private sector partners, are investing significantly in sites in Derby and across the LEP area.
“It was good to meet with the National Infrastructure Commission and get their take on the wider challenges and opportunities they see for the UK; and show them some of the great work being done on infrastructure development in our region.”
The National Infrastructure Assessment (published July 2018) makes recommendations in six key areas:
- digital connectivity
- low carbon energy
- revolutionising road transport through electric and autonomous vehicles
- transport and housing for thriving city regions
- reducing the risk of drought and flooding
- improving how we design and make decisions on new infrastructure.
In response, the Government is due to publish a National Infrastructure Strategy later in the year.