Armitt Review calls for independent infrastructure commisson

Britian needs a new independent National Infrastructure Commission to help set clear priorities, and provide better infrastructure planning for the whole country a new report has shown.

The report commissioned by the Labour Party and written by John Armitt the former chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, recommends that an independent cross party commission should be established to advise on major infrastructure projects.

In the report, Armitt says that the establishment of an independent National Infrastructure Commission would help to identify the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs and monitor the plans developed by governments to meet them.

The Commission would consider how the UK’s future needs could be met in a targeted and efficient manner with value for money being a primary consideration.

The report argues a new approach is needed to prepare the country for the major challenges ahead, such as population growth and climate change.

“Over the last 40 years UK infrastructure has fallen behind the rest of the world and is increasingly struggling to cope with the demands we make of it,” Sir John Armitt said.

“An infrastructure fit for the future must now be a national priority alongside education and health and a new independent National Infrastructure Commission is a way of delivering this improvement with the vital support of the public and politicians of all parties.”

He added: "London 2012 proved we are capable of planning and delivering complex and innovative infrastructure projects with local and national cross-party support. We did it right for the Games and now we need to apply the lessons we’ve learned to other areas and services we need to improve to cope with the challenges ahead.”

The industry has welcomed the findings of the Armitt review. Steve Murphy, general secretary of UCATT, said: “The Armitt Review’s key findings are very important. If implemented they will reduce the short term thinking which is too often taken when considering construction projects.”

Murphy added: “If an independent commission was in place we would have avoided many of the current Government’s infrastructure cuts which have damaged both the construction industry and the whole economy.”

Nick Baveystock, ICE director general, said: ‘The clash between the need for long term strategic infrastructure planning and the nature of short term political cycles has for too long been a hindrance to delivering the infrastructure we need, when it is needed and at price we can afford.”

“An independent commission tasked with identifying the best options for meeting the priorities approved by parliament, at arm’s length from government, is a concept ICE has championed and could help to ensure projects stand above political fault lines. We therefore support Sir John’s proposals and hope they are adopted by the main parties.”

He added: “The Commission is not however a magic bullet – a web of other organisations, rules and established practices affect how our infrastructure is developed and further reforms will be needed.”

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