Towns across the country depend on infrastructure to support economic prosperity and good quality of life. Many towns offer the opportunity for growth and regeneration but may require infrastructure improvement to maximise their potential, while people living in towns everywhere need to have access to a decent level of infrastructure provision for social, leisure and work activities. Delivering the right infrastructure for towns can potentially help address economic and social imbalance between regions.
The government asked the Commission to make recommendations on how to maximise the benefits of infrastructure policy and investment for towns in England. The final report of the study was published on 23 September 2021.
The study focused on transport and digital infrastructure in particular, with the Commission ensuring that any recommendations in reserved areas are applicable across the UK. Terms of reference for the study (see tab on left hand side) were published by the government on 3 March 2021.
This study focused its attention on places outside city centres, specifically towns and suburban centres, considering the potential for both economic and quality of life benefits from infrastructure intervention in towns with different characteristics. The study also considered the potential implications of Covid-19 on infrastructure for towns, and will explore local governance and capability for delivering infrastructure.
Throughout the study the Commission engaged with local leaders and other key stakeholders associated with towns across England to understand local priorities for the potential benefits of infrastructure. The Commission also engaged with relevant experts to ensure recommendations took account of the best available evidence.
The report launch event in Grimsby featured contributors from the Commission, NE Lincolnshire Council, Stevenage Borough Council and the Cabinet Office, and a range of invited online stakeholders. Watch the recording below:
Coming up in 2024
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Commission repeats call for “urgent and fundamental reform” of local transport funding
The government has today published a formal response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s September 2021 report on how infrastructure can support economic growth and quality of life in English towns. The Commission’s central recommendation was a shift towards handing power to local areas to deliver their own infrastructure strategies with five-year devolved budgets, and a...
The long term role of cars in towns
An opinion piece by Mike Davis, Consultant Engineer at E4Tech, and Jo Garvey-Rae, Senior Cost Manager at Turner & Townsend, both members of the Commission’s Young Professionals Panel. The last 12 months has seen a renewed recognition that some towns and places are being left behind, both in terms of productivity and wider quality of...
New study on infrastructure in towns
In its 2021 Budget, the government asked the Commission to undertake a new study looking specifically at the role of infrastructure in helping towns and urban areas outside major cities. The new study will have a particular focus on the role of transport and digital infrastructure in boosting economic regeneration and levelling up. More details...