NIC launches new partnership programme
An important part of helping cities plan for the future is the development of long-term strategies for their infrastructure needs.
In order to facilitate this, the National Infrastructure Commission has launched a partnership programme for cities and city regions across the country, which will help local leaders develop those long-term strategies that link transport, housing and job opportunities.
Chairman Sir John Armitt said the programme would help cities “from the North East to the South West” to share knowledge and expertise as they look to improve their local transport connections.
An initial five cities and city regions have been selected to work with the Commission within the partnership, and they will benefit from expert advice as they develop strategies to improve local transport connections, unlock job opportunities and deliver much-needed new homes.
On top of this, all 45 of England’s largest cities will have the chance to share information and expertise through a series of events that will take place across the country in the New Year, hosted by the National Infrastructure Commission.
The programme follows publication of the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment, which recommended that additional funding and powers be devolved to city leaders and Metro Mayors so they can develop long-term strategies for their area.
Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt 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.
“On top of this the series of events we’ll be running across the country will give dozens of cities from the North East to the South West the chance to share knowledge and expertise.”
Established in 2015, the National Infrastructure Commission is an independent body tasked with providing clear advice to the Government on how best to meet the country’s long-term infrastructure needs. In its National Infrastructure Assessment – the first of its kind for the UK – the Commission recommends that Ministers provide new powers and £43Bn 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.
The Assessment also highlights the need for these strategies to be unlocking job opportunities and delivering much-needed new homes.
The five cities and city regions selected to work with the Commission on in depth case studies over the next year, are:
- Cities in the West Yorkshire Combined Authority area – including Leeds, Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield. The Combined Authority want to create an efficient and sustainable local transport system;
- Liverpool City Region – a city region whose roads are the second most congested outside London. The city region plans to develop a Spatial Development Strategy taking in housing, planning and transport;
- Derby – who want to develop a new growth plan to improve transport, employment and housing in the area, all while also improving air quality and the city’s environmental impact;
- Basildon – who want to develop an infrastructure strategy that supports the delivery of 18,000 new homes and 20,000 new jobs by the mid-2030s; and
- Exeter – a city looking to deliver, with its strategic partners, 50,000 new homes by 2040. The Commission will work with the City Council to develop a strategic plan taking in these new homes as well as improvements to local transport and job opportunities.
The five cities chosen today will have the chance to start this work now, and demonstrate what greater certainty over long-term funding could enable them to deliver for their residents.
As they do so, they will work alongside the National Infrastructure Commission to have access to experienced professionals who will be able to provide a fresh, outside perspective on how they might tackle local transport issues in their area.
In reaction to the news, Jacobs’ Director of Growth London and Cities, Kate Kenny, commented: “Jacobs welcomes the National Infrastructure Commission’s new partnership programme for cities and city regions across the country.”
“There are significant opportunities for working smarter with more integrated, long-term thinking across organisations and services, so that our cities and their vital infrastructure are developed holistically, maximising benefits. Connecting strategies and learning across sectors and regions will help find better and more sustainable solutions to achieving connectivity, placemaking, environmental and economic growth objectives.”
If you are interested in finding out more about key infrastructure trends today, you may wish to attend the flagship infrastructure exhibition at the NEC in April 2019 : UKIS 2019
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