What we do

The Commission's role and remit for advising on economic infrastructure

Our work

The sectors of economic infrastructure covered by the Commission's remit, and our core responsibilities.

The Commission is an Executive Agency of HM Treasury, providing government with impartial, expert advice on major long term infrastructure challenges. While the Commission carries out its work in accordance with the remit and terms of reference for specific studies set by the government, it has complete discretion to determine its own work programme and recommendations.

The Commission and government have agreed an updated Charter and Framework Document setting out their respective responsibilities. A revised remit letter – adding a new climate change and resilience objective to the Commission’s list of core objectives and increasing the Commission’s fiscal remit – was published as part of the Autumn Budget and Spending Review in October 2021. Our purpose, objectives and mission statement can be found here.


The Commission advises government on all sectors of economic infrastructure, defined as: energy, transport, water and wastewater (drainage and sewerage), waste, flood risk management and digital communications. It also considers interactions between its infrastructure recommendations and housing supply. The Commission’s role does not cover housing (as a distinct area), social infrastructure, land use or agriculture.

The Commission does not reopen decision-making processes where programmes and work have been decided (or are due to be decided immediately after a Commission report is published), or reopen closed price control settlements in regulated utilities. When making its recommendations, the Commission takes account of the role of economic regulators in regulating infrastructure providers and the government’s legal obligations, such as carbon reduction targets.

Core responsibilities

We are committed to delivering the following core pieces of work:

  • a National Infrastructure Assessment once in every Parliament, setting out the Commission’s assessment of long term infrastructure needs, with recommendations to government
  • specific studies on pressing infrastructure challenges as set by government
  • an Annual Monitoring Report, taking stock of the government’s progress towards previously accepted recommendations.

Devolved responsibilities

The Commission’s remit extends to economic infrastructure within the UK government’s competence. Across much of the Commission’s remit there is currently substantial devolution to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales (see the table below). The Commission’s role is to advise the UK government, but it works with both the UK government and the devolved administrations where responsibilities interact.

Sector Devolved administration responsibility 
EnergyDevolved, except nuclearReserved, except energy efficiencyReserved, except energy efficiency
Flood riskDevolvedDevolvedDevolved
TransportDevolvedLargely devolvedDevolved, except rail
Water and sewerageDevolvedDevolvedDevolved
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