Infrastructure Progress Review 2022

Published:

Our annual assessment of the government's progress on implementing its commitments on infrastructure.

Foreword

In last year’s review we applauded government for publishing the UK’s first National Infrastructure Strategy, informed by the Commission’s own recommendations - and particularly for doing so in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year, it is right to further recognise the increased investment the government has indicated it will make in national infrastructure. As well as a £100 billion commitment over the next three years, it has also lifted the ‘fiscal remit’ – the funding envelope within which the Commission must cost our recommendations – to 1.1 to 1.3 per cent of GDP from 2025. 

This potentially represents billions of extra pounds in spending on preparing our transport, energy, flood resilience, water, waste and digital networks for the future. 

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Through the Strategy and related announcements, government has set clear, long term goals for most infrastructure sectors. And there has been some progress, with the establishment of the UK Infrastructure Bank this year and the continuing expansion of gigabit capable broadband and renewable energy generation. 

But it is also our role, as independent advisers, to sound a warning when we think progress is insufficient towards the goals to which government has committed, and around which there is almost universal consensus: the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, become more resilient to climate change and ensure economic opportunity is spread more evenly across the country. 

Reviewing the current state of key areas of policy and delivery, gaps are opening up between aspiration and execution. 

We highlight several areas of concern, where urgent action is needed to avoid serious risks to delivering the objectives of the National Infrastructure Strategy. 

These include the need for a comprehensive energy efficiency push to hit the government’s own target for all homes to be rated EPC C or above by 2035. 

We also need to devolve five year funding settlements for transport spending to local authorities beyond the current metro mayoralties. 

And we need to turbo charge the roll out of electric vehicle charging points, accelerating the installation of both rapid and on-street charging facilities so that the 2030 date for the end of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars remains viable. 

At a time of significant global volatility alongside concerns about rising living costs, we appreciate that sticking to a long term strategy is not easy. 

But it is the only way to address the stubbornly difficult problems that will not become any easier or cheaper to solve by delaying action – and the quicker we tackle them, the quicker society and our environment will reap the benefits.

Sir John Armitt, Chair
Final Report

Infrastructure Progress Review 2022

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Front cover of the Infrastructure Progress Review 2022 report

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