The National Infrastructure Commission published the Infrastructure Progress Review 2023 yesterday, outlining where progress has been made in the implementation of previous recommendations.
The review began by outlining how 2022 saw progress stuttering further in comparison with 2021, which it also deemed as “a year of slow progress,” despite some steps forward being made. The foreword to the review looked at how a mixed scorecard could leave success open to the interpretation of individual experiences. Chair of the NIC, Sir John Armitt, said:
“Getting our infrastructure right for the second half of this century is a journey that, by definition, will go on being plotted over the coming decades. But a further prevarication risks losing momentum on critical areas like achieving the statutory net zero target. Rarely has the need for speed been more evident.”
The Rail Needs Assessment saw the NIC provide a “menu” of options for rail investment for the North and Midlands, with this including HS2, and focusing on the improvement of regional links, long distance links and upgrades with a baseline budget of £86 million.
With priorities not being fully met, this led the review to call for more consistency from the government as they commit to projects such as supporting the West Yorkshire Combined Authority as it looks to deliver a mass transit system. In response to this, the Rail Industry Association has issued a statement that looks into what more can be done to boost the implementation of rail infrastructure around the country.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said:
“The Railway Industry Association welcomes the publication of the National Infrastructure Commission’s Infrastructure Progress Review 202. This review makes clear the importance of pushing on with major infrastructure projects, including HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and East West Rail.
“To secure value for the tax and far payer, it is crucial the Government provides certainty and clarity for the rail supply chain. That means sticking to plans for transformational rail projects once they are made, and not chopping and changing things after construction has started – as has clearly been the case with HS2. This simply has a negative impact on supply chain confidence and drives costs higher.
“To maximise the return on the investment these projects require, it is also important for the Government to complete them in full. Delaying construction or scaling back projects often leads to the worst of all worlds, with higher costs in the long term, and delayed benefits and reduced connectivity. This NIC report therefore is a timely reminder.”