Design & Funding

More efficient use of public and private money combined with sound design principles will deliver better outcomes for society.

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Footbridge and sunset

The Commission’s own recommendations are made within a ‘fiscal remit’ set by government. This currently provides a long term funding guideline for public investment in economic infrastructure of 1.1 – 1.3 per cent of GDP for the period 2025 – 55.

Around half of the infrastructure investment in the UK is financed and delivered by the private sector, with the cost eventually passed through to consumers and business. The Commission’s recommendations recognise that all major projects will come at a cost that needs to be carefully assessed against the full range of realistic benefits.

The Commission’s work seeks to understand what factors drive private investment in infrastructure and how the infrastructure industry is evolving, and to use this insight to advise government.

Commission analysis for the Second National Infrastructure Assessment indicates that overall investment needs to increase from an average of around £55 billion per year over the last decade (that’s around ten per cent of UK investment) to around £70 to 80 billion per year in the 2030s and £60 to £70 billion per year in the 2040s. It’s a significant increase and one that will be challenging to deliver; but the Commission believes it is what is required to achieve low carbon and resilient infrastructure that supports economic growth and protects the environment.

The Commission also works to encourage the adoption of sound design principles throughout the project lifecycle that will help save money, reduce risk, add value, support environmental net gain and create a legacy that looks good and works well. In its response to the first National Infrastructure Assessment, the government committed to ensuring there is a design champion on all new major infrastructure projects, in line with Commission recommendations.

The Second National Infrastructure Assessment included a recommendation that the Design Group will work with the Infrastructure and Projects authority to develop further guidance explaning how design leaders should develop and embed project design specific principles. This project-level guidance on applying the principles to each stage of a project life cycle was published in May 2024.

Design & funding data

A range of data sets relating to infrastructure design and funding is available to review on our Data pages. This includes data sets used in Commission reports, as well as historic data sets. Each can be reviewed online or downloaded.

Review data

Latest Updates

Principles before particulars secures project success, say NIC design experts

Principles before particulars secures project success, say NIC design experts

The National Infrastructure Commission’s Design Group has published guidance on developing and implementing design principles for major infrastructure projects. Building on the Group’s high level design principles – climate, people, places and value – the new guidance sets out a structured process for applying tailored principles at every stage of a project life cycle. The...

21 May 2024 By
Project level design principles

Project level design principles

Practical guidance for design leads to implement our design principles for national infrastructure into every stage of a project life cycle

21 May 2024
Infrastructure Progress Review 2024
Cover graphic for IPR24

Infrastructure Progress Review 2024

Our latest annual review of government progress in delivering its major infrastructure objectives.

16 May 2024
Window closing on infrastructure catch up, warn government advisers
Cover graphic for IPR24

Window closing on infrastructure catch up, warn government advisers

Failure to go further, faster over the next five years on plans for infrastructure delivery could constrain economic growth and threaten climate targets, according to the government’s official infrastructure advisers. Noting the UK has faced several years of disruption from Covid and the cost-of-living crisis, the National Infrastructure Commission’s annual review charts a mixed picture...

16 May 2024 By
Views sought on project level design principles
Pedestrians crossing an unusual shaped footbridge over rail tracks

Views sought on project level design principles

Infrastructure professionals are being invited to share their views and experiences of working with project-specific design principles to help inform new national guidance. The National Infrastructure Commission’s Design Group, chaired by Sadie Morgan, is seeking input on how such principles can work in practice and examples of the difference they can make at different stages...

31 Jan 2024 By
Cost effective delivery of infrastructure projects
New motorway junction being built

Cost effective delivery of infrastructure projects

Project exploring how the UK can build economic infrastructure more quickly and cheaply, and compare favourably with its international peers.

24 Jan 2024
Government Expenditure on Economic Infrastructure
UK Parliament in London city aerial view

Government Expenditure on Economic Infrastructure

Data showing past government expenditure on economic infrastructure within the scope of the Commissions fiscal remit

7 Nov 2023
Long term review sets out pressing need to modernise infrastructure to support economic growth and climate action
Scout Moor windarm and the Naden Reservoirs near Rochdale

Long term review sets out pressing need to modernise infrastructure to support economic growth and climate action

Improved infrastructure to boost economic growth across the UK and meet climate goals is both achievable and affordable if the right policy steps are taken now, according to the government’s independent advisers on infrastructure strategy. The Second National Infrastructure Assessment – a five yearly review conducted by the National Infrastructure Commission – sets out a...

18 Oct 2023 By
Second National Infrastructure Assessment
Scout Moor windarm and the Naden Reservoirs near Rochdale

Second National Infrastructure Assessment

The Commission's thirty year plan for a low carbon and resilient UK economy that supports economic growth and protects the natural environment

18 Oct 2023
National Infrastructure Assessment
View of Manchester city centre

National Infrastructure Assessment

An analysis of the UK’s long term economic infrastructure needs, outlining a strategic vision over the next thirty years.

18 Oct 2023
Stronger coordination of environment and community benefit needed to get planning timescales back on track
T-pylons under construction

Stronger coordination of environment and community benefit needed to get planning timescales back on track

A new data platform to share environmental information and effective ways of addressing the impact of proposed infrastructure projects will enable stronger protection for natural habitats and speed up schemes crucial to the net zero transition, according to a new report by the National Infrastructure Commission. The review by the government’s official infrastructure advisers also...

18 Apr 2023 By
Infrastructure planning system
A solar farm in a field

Infrastructure planning system

A short study reviewing the current processes for reviewing national policy statements for key infrastructure sectors

18 Apr 2023
Go big where it counts to hit economic and climate goals, says Commission
Front cover image from IPR

Go big where it counts to hit economic and climate goals, says Commission

Government must develop stronger staying power and focus on fewer, bigger, better targeted initiatives to deliver the infrastructure needed to meet its long term goals for economic growth and a lower carbon economy, the UK’s independent advisers on infrastructure have said. The last year has seen progress towards major infrastructure objectives “stutter further just as...

27 Mar 2023 By
Infrastructure Progress Review 2023
IPR 2023 front cover montage

Infrastructure Progress Review 2023

Our annual monitoring report on government progress towards major infrastructure objectives.

27 Mar 2023

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