There is very little of the natural environment in the UK today that has not been shaped or impacted in some way by human activity and the infrastructure that has been put in place to support it.
Although there have been some major improvements (for example, better water quality in major rivers such as the Thames), trends over the last 60 years looking at environmental measures, such as biodiversity, show a clear decline.
Infrastructure will play a significant role in meeting the UK’s target of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or before. The Commission’s work in this area covers the big challenges and opportunities in moving to a low cost, low carbon future for key utilities, as explored in our energy & net zero theme.
The Second National Infrastructure Assessment makes a range of recommendations across the strategic themes of reaching net zero and supporting climate resilience and the environment. Recommendations cover decarbonising energy and heating, reducing the risks from surface water flooding, and how waste management infrastructure can better support a circular economy.
Our work on transport also helps inform policy making that cuts air pollution and seeks to decarbonise both public transport systems and private road transport, while our work on water and floods helps build community resilience in the face of extreme weather patterns. It is vital that major infrastructure projects consider their Impact on the environment at every stage of their planning and design, as reflected in our design principles for national infrastructure.
In the second Assessment we have also, for the first time, undertaken a quantitative and qualitative risk assessment of the impacts of our recommendations on natural capital. If recommended mitigations are implemented and well designed, we are confident that environmental water quality, air quality and biodiversity will all be improved as a result of our recommendations.
Environment & waste data
Data sets relating to environment & waste are 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 environment & waste data
We’re recruiting – Senior Policy Adviser (environment)
We’re looking to recuit someone with a particular interest in water management to join our environment team and help develop policies that enables our infrastructure systems to better protect and enhance our natural environment and safeguard important natural resources in the face of climate change impacts. Based in our Leeds office, the successful candidate will...
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...
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...
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
National Infrastructure Assessment
An analysis of the UK’s long term economic infrastructure needs, outlining a strategic vision over the next thirty years.
NIC and CCC call for urgent action to protect infrastructure from climate risks
The National Infrastructure Commission and Climate Change Committee have written jointly to government urging ministers to take steps to improve the resilience of key infrastructure services to the effects of climate change. Building on recent reports by both organisations, the advisory bodies set out five steps to accelerate national adaptation planning to protect key networks:...
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...
YPP discusses net zero for the next generation
In this guest blog, we are pleased to present reflections from a recent event organised by the Commission’s Young Professionals Panel. The content reflects the discussions of event participants, rather than a Commission policy position. The UK is home to over 22 million people under the age of 30, many of whom are increasingly aware...
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...
Commission to review major projects planning policy
The National Infrastructure Commission has been asked to review the current approach to National Policy Statements (NPSs) and identify how the planning system could create greater certainty for infrastructure investors, developers and local communities. The independent advisory body has been commissioned to undertake the review as government prepares to publish an Action Plan on Nationally...
Armitt: Skidmore Net Zero report “nails argument that inaction now will cost us all in the long run”
The Commission has welcomed Mission Zero, an independent review by Chris Skidmore MP on government’s approach to delivering its legally binding net zero target, specifically “how to deliver and implement most effectively and efficiently a plan for our future energy transition”. Chris Skidmore’s report, published today (13 January 2023), highlights the centrality of transforming the...