National Infrastructure Assessment   |   Study

Second National Infrastructure Assessment

Our thirty year plan for a low carbon and resilient economy that supports economic growth and protects the natural environment

Tagged: Design & FundingDigital & DataEnergy & Net ZeroEnvironmentNational Infrastructure AssessmentPlaceRegulation & ResilienceTransportWater & Floods


Much has changed since the first Assessment in 2018. The Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine — and their impact on the cost of living — have made life harder for many households and businesses. At the same time, we have become more aware of the perils of climate change.

The good news is that modern, reliable infrastructure can support economic growth, help tackle climate change and enhance the natural environment.

We stand at a pivotal moment in time, with the opportunity to make a major difference to this country’s future. But we need to get on with it.

To deliver net zero by 2050, the UK must be a long way down the road to decarbonising electricity, transport, industry and heating by the Sixth Carbon Budget in 2035. In infrastructure terms, 12 years is not a long time. Alongside this there is pressing need to improve productivity and fix decades of economic disparity between regions.

These goals require clarity and consistency of policy and regulation alongside an improved planning system to get major infrastructure projects built on time. That’s how we will attract investment and action from the private sector.

Stable public funding will be also needed, particularly to help households with the upfront costs of an energy transition that will lead to long term benefits and cheaper bills.

This Assessment includes probably the most comprehensive assessment yet of the infrastructure costs associated with supporting regional growth and reaching net zero.

The public pay for infrastructure as taxpayers and bill payers — and so we must be open with them about the costs as well as the benefits.

While there’s no doubt that the Commission is recommending significant changes to upgrade the country’s infrastructure, they have all been costed in line with government’s guideline for public investment. What’s more, making these investments now should lead to permanently lower infrastructure costs for households.

In preparing this Assessment, we have consulted and travelled widely, meeting with the public, industry, academics, local and national government.

This has informed a carefully considered view of how infrastructure can support a more productive, cleaner, and fairer economy.

These objectives are shared across the political spectrum, and society more widely. We have aimed to set out a bold but achievable package of actions to help meet these goals, which we hope secure similarly broad support.

The hardest part is of course turning policy into delivery on the ground. People often talk about infrastructure as the backbone of our economy: what our infrastructure needs now is the collective mettle to turn commitments into action that will reap rewards for decades to come.

Producing a report of this breadth and depth has required a huge amount of work by the Commission’s secretariat, to whom all the Commissioners express their thanks. We would also like to thank everyone else who has contributed to our work over the last two years, and we look forward to working with you as we encourage the adoption of our recommendations.

Sir John Armitt, Chair