First stop Manchester for national infrastructure advisers’ fact finding tour

The Commission begins a series of engagement visits across the country ahead of the next Assessment.

Published: 13 Jun 2022

By: Ben Wilson

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View of Manchester city centre

Ensuring Greater Manchester has the infrastructure in place to meet the needs of the year 2050 will be on the agenda as the government’s official advisers on infrastructure policy kick off a national tour with a visit to the region today (Monday 13 June).

Maximising the opportunities provided by HS2, the importance of further investment in public transport across the region and steps to help homes and businesses use less carbon are all expected to be discussed during a series of meetings between the National Infrastructure Commission and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, alongside officials from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA).

The Commissioners are keen to discuss how government policy, funding mechanisms and decision making processes can better serve the needs of city regions like Greater Manchester, and support key goals like levelling up and reaching the net zero emissions target by 2050.

The Commission’s visit is the first in a series of engagements with city regions across the country, to gather evidence in the run-up to the next National Infrastructure Assessment – a major five-yearly report with costed recommendations to government on long term infrastructure priorities.

During the visit, Commissioners will also met representatives of the Greater Manchester Equality Alliance (GM=EqAl), a coalition of voluntary and community organisations from a wide range of communities of experience, to hear how future policy changes could affect different groups.

The Commissioners will also tour the Civic Quarter Heat Network and see examples of other steps by Manchester City Council to reduce energy use in civic buildings, before visiting the new Mayfield Park to see at first hand how floodable meadows will help the city’s flood resilience.

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is hosting a special event where Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, will discuss with business leaders how transport and energy networks can evolve to support a greener economy which also supports skilled jobs in the region and beyond.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

“The Commission has been a strong advocate for giving more powers and funding to local leaders to drive forward growth and regeneration plans that are right for their own places.

“We were pleased to welcome Sir John and his fellow Commissioners to Greater Manchester, to show them what we’re already doing with our unique devolved powers to create a greener, fairer more prosperous city-region, and make the case for the things we need to see from central government to accelerate that progress.”

The Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said:

“Greater Manchester is known globally for its pioneering, creative spirit, and its residents have always used infrastructure to both reflect and support that ingenuity. As we face an array of challenges and opportunities in the second half of this century, our visit has given us invaluable insights to inform our future recommendations on government policy.”

The next National Infrastructure Assessment will be published in the second half of 2023. The Commission has already announced that it will focus on three strategic themes: achieving the legally binding net zero emissions target, protecting the environment and enhancing climate resilience, and levelling up economic prosperity and quality of life the UK. Ministers are required to respond formally to the Commission’s recommendations within a year.

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