All Recommendations

A sortable list of all recommendations made by the Commission to government. More details can be found in the corresponding Study or Report page.




The Commission's recommendations to government:

Resilience: Recommendation 1

Clear, proportionate and realistic resilience standards set by government

Government should introduce a statutory requirement by 2022 for Secretaries of State to publish:

  • clear, proportionate and realistic standards every five years for the resilience of energy, water, digital, road and rail services
  • an assessment of how existing structures, powers and incentives enable operators to deliver these standards or where changes are needed.

Regulators should introduce obligations on infrastructure operators to meet these resilience standards by 2023.

Resilience: Recommendation 2

Stress testing of infrastructure sectors

Regulators should require a system of regular stress testing by 2024 for energy, water, digital, road and rail infrastructure operators, to ensure that infrastructure operators’ systems and decision-making can credibly meet resilience standards for infrastructure services.
Regulators should introduce obligations by 2023 on infrastructure operators to require them to participate in stress tests and to require remedial action in case of failure of stress tests.

Resilience: Recommendation 3

Infrastructure operators should develop strategies to ensure services meet resilience standards in the long term

Energy, water, digital, road and rail infrastructure operators should develop and maintain strategies to ensure infrastructure services can continue to meet resilience standards in the long term. To ensure this, regulators should:

  • introduce obligations by 2023 on infrastructure operators to require them to develop and maintain long term resilience strategies (where there is no current requirement)
  • set out, in future price reviews, how their determinations are consistent with meeting standards of resilience in both the short and long term.

Regulation: Recommendation 1

A clearer strategic framework for the long-term investment needs of the country

Forward looking regulation, by independent regulators, remains the best approach to balancing the needs of consumers and investors, whilst incentivising efficiency. However, this should be embedded in a clearer strategic framework for the long-term investment needs of the country:

  • The government should introduce legislation by 2021 to fulfil its previous proposal that regulators have regard to endorsed recommendations from the Commission
  • The government should set out a long-term strategic vision for each of the regulated sectors, through strategic policy statements, within the first year of each Parliament, to support lasting plans and stable funding.

Regulation: Recommendation 2

Regulatory frameworks should reflect the devolution of powers within the UK

Regulatory frameworks should reflect the devolution of powers within the UK:

  • Ahead of the next price controls, regulators should put in place formal mechanisms, such as advisory committees, to ensure they have regard to the strategic vision set out by devolved administrations, where devolved and reserved powers interact
  • In future price controls, regulators should demonstrate how they have taken consideration of the strategic vision of metro mayors and relevant local government, within devolved powers, where this has material impacts for network investment
  • Regardless of specific devolved powers, regulators should engage with the views of elected representatives, alongside other sources of insight into consumers and the public’s preferences.


Regulation: Recommendation 3

Updating regulators’ duties

Regulators’ duties need to be coherent, covering price, quality, resilience and environment. Government should introduce legislation by 2021 ensuring that, where they are currently missing, Ofwat, Ofgem and Ofcom have duties to require them to seek to:

  • Ensure their decisions promote the resilience of infrastructure systems
  • Ensure their decisions are consistent with, and promote the achievement of, the government’s legislated greenhouse gas emissions targets, currently achieving net zero greenhouse gases by 2050
  • Collaborate with other regulators, where relevant, to avoid contradictory regulation and promote efficient outcomes for consumers on cross-sectoral issues.


Regulation: Recommendation 4

Using competition to support innovation

The use of competition should be enhanced as the most reliable means of supporting innovation, particularly where there is rapid technological change:

  • Regulators should focus ‘standard’ periodic price controls on the maintenance of existing networks and marginal enhancements
  • Ofcom should continue to promote infrastructure competition for fibre and mobile networks
  • Government should introduce legislation, ahead of the next price controls, to remove any barriers to the use of competition in the provision of strategic enhancements to water and energy networks
  • For future price controls, Ofwat and Ofgem should separate consideration of strategic enhancements from the ‘standard’ periodic price control. Ofwat and Ofgem should develop tendering processes for strategic enhancements, with a clear, public justification required where tendering is not used
  • Government should ensure that regulators have the resources they need to carry out competitive tenders for transformational investments.


Regulation: Recommendation 5

Regulators should address financial risk and corporate governance issues

Regulators should be more proactive in addressing financial risk and corporate governance, to ensure that rewards reflect performance and risks that are genuinely taken by investors:

  • In future price controls, regulators should take direct account of information asymmetries in assessing the weighted average cost of capital and total expenditure allowances, ‘aiming off’ to ensure a fair outcome for consumers and investors
  • In future price controls, regulators should introduce outperformance sharing mechanisms to allow consumers to share in the benefits that equity investors achieve from high gearing, where companies have gearing levels which significantly exceed the level assumed by the regulators
  • For natural monopoly companies, regulators should evaluate the case for an absolute cap on gearing
  • For firms with a natural monopoly, regulators should ensure executive salaries are demonstrably linked to long-term performance for consumers and the public.


Regulation: Recommendation 6

Prevent companies from engaging in price discrimination that does not provide an overall benefit to consumers

Regulators should be able to prevent companies from engaging in price discrimination that does not provide an overall benefit to consumers:

  • Regulators should require companies to report annually on which groups of customers are paying more for the same service; companies should be required to publicly justify their price discrimination policies or rectify them
  • Regulators should be able to require companies to change their price structures where price discrimination cannot be justified by benefits to consumers
  • Government should introduce legislation, by 2021, to replace the current court-based enforcement of consumer law with an administrative compliance and enforcement model, subject to appropriate scrutiny by the courts.


Regulation: Recommendation 7

Closer attention to distributional consequences for customers

Government and regulators cannot rely on a flawed assumption that market design and distributional consequences can be separated. For future regulatory proposals with significant distributional consequences:

  • Regulators should publish an analysis of the distributional consequences for consumers and businesses of their proposals, and of the impact of possible mitigations for significant adverse effects
  • Regulators’ boards should be given the power, by 2021, to seek explicit guidance from ministers on strategic policy direction and distributional choices, against a menu of feasible options provided by the regulator and within a fixed three-month period


Regulation: Recommendation 8

A stronger role for the UK Regulators Network

The UK Regulators Network should have a stronger role, supported by an independent chair:

  • By the end of 2020, the UK Regulators Network should appoint an independent chair
  • By the end of 2020, the government should review data sharing powers by regulators to ensure they can develop a ‘whole customer view’
  • By the end of 2021, regulators, with the support of the UK Regulators Network, should develop joint data sets to enable whole customer analysis
  • By July 2021, the independent chair of the UK Regulators Network should publish a business plan setting out how the network will support collaboration on the achievement of common goals; coordination to avoid contradictory regulation and inefficiency; data and knowledge sharing, including supporting the regulators to improve their data management capability; improved performance reporting by regulators.


Freight: Recommendation 1

Government should commit to decarbonising road freight by 2050

Government should commit to decarbonising road freight by 2050, announcing plans by the end of 2021 to ban the sale of new diesel powered HGVs no later than 2040. To support this:

  • government should, in conjunction with distribution and transmission network operators, prepare detailed assessments of the infrastructure required to enable the uptake of battery electric or hydrogen HGVs, including the refuelling requirements at depots and key rest areas on major freight routes. For battery electric, these assessments should include enhancements to distribution networks alongside alternatives to reinforcement, such as energy storage. For hydrogen, these assessments should cover the production, storage and distribution of hydrogen, including any dependency with the decarbonisation of the heating supply system.
  •  Ofgem, as part of the next energy distribution price review (RIIO‑ED2) starting in 2023, should include a clear requirement for distribution network operators (in partnership with the freight industry) to map out the infrastructure upgrades and opportunities for alternative solutions, such as energy storage, required to enable large scale freight van charging at depots.

Freight: Recommendation 2

A full strategy for rail freight to reach zero emissions by 2050

Government should undertake detailed cross‑modal analysis, using a corridor‑based approach, of the long term options for rail freight’s
transition to zero emissions, including low carbon rail services and the scope for road based alternatives. It should then publish, by the end of 2021, a full strategy for rail freight to reach zero emissions by 2050, specifying the investments and/or subsidies that it will provide to get there.

Freight: Recommendation 3

Local authorities should include urban freight within their infrastructure strategies

To help manage peak time congestion on the urban transport network, local authorities should include a plan for urban freight within the infrastructure strategies they are developing. These plans should review local regulations to incentivise low congestion operations, consider the case for investments in infrastructure such as consolidation centres, and identify the land and regulatory requirements of new and innovative low congestion initiatives.

Freight: Recommendation 4

New planning practice guidance on freight for strategic policy making authorities

Government should produce new planning practice guidance on freight for strategic policy making authorities. The guidance should better support these authorities in planning for efficient freight networks to service homes and businesses as part of their plan making processes. This new planning practice guidance, which should be prepared by the end of 2020, should give further detail on appropriate considerations when planning for freight, such as the need to:

  • provide and protect sufficient land/floorspace for storage and distribution activities on the basis of population and economic need, with particular consideration for the floorspace requirements for last mile distribution and consolidation centres;
  • support the clustering of related activities within a supply chain, minimising the distance that goods must be moved and maximising the potential for efficient operations;
  • maximise the potential for freight trips to be made at off peak times; and
  • accommodate deliveries and servicing activity at the point of delivery.

Freight: Recommendation 5

A data standard for freight data collection to support local authorities

Government should develop a data standard for freight data collection to support local authorities, outlining the requirements for technological capability, data requirements, and data format. Such a standard must seek to ensure consistent data quality and format across technologies to allow regional and national aggregation, and should be complete by the end of 2020.

Freight: Recommendation 6

Establish a Freight Leadership Council

Government should establish a new bi‑annual ‘Freight Leadership Council’, inviting representatives from BEIS, DfT, MHCLG, DEFRA and HM Treasury, devolved administrations, all freight modes and parts of the supply chain. This Council’s main focus should be on strategic, long term issues – specifically supporting decarbonisation of road and rail freight by 2050. This Council should hold its first meeting before the end of 2020.

National Infrastructure Assessment: Recommendation 1: Building a digital society

A nationwide full fibre connectivity plan

The Commission recommends that government should set out a nationwide full fibre connectivity plan by spring 2019, including proposals for connecting rural and remote communities. This should ensure that full fibre connectivity is available to 15 million homes and businesses by 2025, 25 million by 2030 with full coverage by 2033. To achieve these targets:

  • Ofcom should promote network competition to drive the commercial rollout of full fibre, by deregulating where competition is effective and guaranteeing a fair bet on risky investments before regulating any uncompetitive areas.
  • Government should part subsidise rollout to rural and remote communities, beginning by 2020, starting with the hardest to reach areas and community self-build.
  • Government and Ofcom should allow for copper switch-off by 2025.
  • Government and Ofcom should take action to cut the cost of full fibre deployment including:
    • Government should ensure the processes for obtaining wayleaves and connecting new builds are the same for digital infrastructure as other utilities by 2019.
    • Local government should designate ‘digital champions’ to improve telecoms processes such as street work permissions and access to publicly owned assets.
    • Ofcom should monitor the accessibility of Openreach’s duct and pole infrastructure by levels of usage.

National Infrastructure Assessment: Recommendation 2: Low cost, low carbon

Accelerating the transition to a highly renewable generation mix

The Commission recommends that government should set out a pipeline of pot 1 Contracts for Difference auctions, to deliver at least 50 per cent renewable generation by 2030, as part of the transition to a highly renewable generation mix. Government should:

  • Move technologies that have recently become cost competitive, such as offshore wind, to pot 1 following the next Contracts for Difference auction in Spring 2019. Pot 1 should be used for the overwhelming majority of the increase in renewable capacity required.
  • Publish indicative auction dates and budgets for the next decade by 2020.
  • Over time take whole systems costs into account in Contracts for Difference auctions, as far as possible.
  • Consider whether there is a case for a small-scale, pot 2 auction in the 2020s, if there are technologies which are serious contenders for future pot 1 auctions.
  • Not agree support for more than one nuclear power station beyond Hinkley Point C, before 2025.

National Infrastructure Assessment: Recommendation 3: Low cost, low carbon

More progress towards zero carbon heat

The Commission recommends that government needs to make progress towards zero carbon heat:

  • Establishing the safety case for using hydrogen as a replacement for natural gas, followed by trialling hydrogen at community scale by 2021.
  • Subject to the success of community trials, launching a trial to supply hydrogen to at least 10,000 homes by 2023, including hydrogen production with carbon capture and storage.
  • By 2021, government should establish an up to date evidence base on the performance of heat pumps within the UK building stock and the scope for future reductions in the cost of installation.
  • Set a target for the rate of installations of energy efficiency measures in the building stock of 21,000 measures a week by 2020, maintained at this level until a decision on future heat infrastructure is taken. Policies to deliver this should include:
    • Allocating £3.8 billion between now and 2030 to deliver energy efficiency improvements in social housing.
    • Government continuing to trial innovative approaches for driving energy efficiency within the owner occupier market.
    • Government setting out, by the end of 2018, how regulations in the private rented sector will be tightened and enforced over time.

National Infrastructure Assessment: Recommendation 4: Low cost, low carbon

Increasing recycling rates of municipal waste and plastic packaging

The Commission recommends that government should set a target for recycling 65 per cent of municipal waste and 75 per cent of plastic packaging by 2030. Government should set individual targets for all local authorities and provide financial support for transitional costs. The government should establish:

  • Separate food waste collection for households and businesses (to enable production of biogas) by 2025.
  • Clear two symbol labelling (recyclable or not recyclable) across the UK by 2022.
  • A consistent national standard of recycling for households and businesses by 2025.
  • Restrictions on the use of hard-to-recycle plastic packaging (PVC and polystyrene) by 2025.
  • Incentives to reduce packaging and for product design that is more easily recyclable by 2022.
  • A common data reporting framework for businesses handling commercial and industrial waste by the end of 2019, ideally through voluntary reporting but if necessary by legislation.

National Infrastructure Assessment: Recommendation 5: Revolutioning road transport

Rolling out charging infrastructure to enable 100 per cent electric new car and van sales by 2030

The Commission recommends that government, Ofgem and local authorities should enable the roll out of charging infrastructure sufficient to allow consumer demand to reach close to 100 per cent electric new car and van sales by 2030. Government should address the implications of technological innovation in long term transport planning processes, including the next rail control period and road investment strategy.

  • Ofgem should take on the role of regulating the interaction between electric vehicle charge points and the electricity network immediately, ensuring that electric vehicle charging and vehicle to grid services contribute to the optimisation of the energy system. Government, industry and Ofgem should work together to set minimum standards for a network of interoperable, smart charge points.
  • Ofgem should commission electricity network operators to work with charge point providers to identify potential anticipatory investments required to accommodate public charging infrastructure. Opportunities for investment within the current price control period should be identified by Summer 2019.
  • Government should place a requirement on local authorities to work with charge point providers to allocate 5 per cent of their parking spaces (including on-street) by 2020 and 20 per cent by 2025 which may be converted to electric vehicle charge points.
  • Government should subsidise, by 2022, the provision of rapid charge points in rural and remote areas, where the market will not deliver in the short term.
  • Government should establish a centre for advanced transport technology in the Department for Transport to bring together work on technological innovation and ensure its implications are central to future investment proposals. This should include developing and overseeing the Commission’s proposed connected and autonomous vehicles framework.

National Infrastructure Assessment: Recommendation 6: Thriving city regions

Cities should have the powers and funding they need to pursue ambitious, integrated strategies for transport, employment and housing

The Commission recommends that government should make £500 million a year of funding available from 2025/26 to 2034/35 for local highways authorities to address the local road maintenance backlog.

The Commission recommends that cities should have the powers and funding they need to pursue ambitious, integrated strategies for transport, employment and housing.

  • By 2021, metro mayors and city leaders should develop and implement long term integrated strategies for transport, employment and housing that will support growth in their cities.
  • By 2021, government should ensure city leaders have the right powers to deliver these integrated strategies, including the power for metro mayors to make decisions on major housing development sites.
  • Government should set out devolved infrastructure budgets for individual cities for locally determined urban transport priorities in line with the funding profile set out by the Commission. Budgets for 2021-2026 should be confirmed by mid 2019. Government should pass legislation, by 2020, requiring cities to be given regular five year infrastructure budgets.
  • Government should allocate significant long term funding for major capacity upgrades in selected growth priority cities, in line with the funding profile set out by the Commission. Cities benefiting from major projects should make commitments on housing delivery and provide at least 25 per cent of funding. Priority cities should be identified by mid 2019, with long term investment commitments agreed by 2020. Future rounds should take place no more than twice a parliament.

National Infrastructure Assessment: Recommendation 7: Reducing drought & flood risk

A strategy to deliver a nationwide standard of resilience to flooding

The Commission recommends that government should set out a strategy to deliver a nationwide standard of resilience to flooding with an annual likelihood of 0.5 per cent by 2050 where this is feasible. A higher standard of 0.1 per cent should be provided for densely populated areas where the costs per household are lower. To deliver the strategy:

  • By the end of 2019, government should put in place a rolling 6 year funding programme in line with the funding profile set out by the Commission. This should enable efficient planning and delivery of projects and address the risks from all sources of flooding.
  • The Environment Agency should update plans for all catchments and coastal cells in England before the end of 2023. These should identify how risk can be managed most effectively using a combination of measures including green and grey infrastructure, spatial planning and property level measures.
  • Water companies and local authorities should work together to publish joint plans to manage surface water flood risk by 2022.
  • The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and planning authorities should ensure that from 2019 all new development is resilient to flooding with an annual likelihood of 0.5 per cent for its lifetime and does not increase risk elsewhere.

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