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National Infrastructure Commission’s Second Assessment Acknowledges and Addresses Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s Key Asks


National Infrastructure Commission’s Second Assessment Acknowledges and Addresses Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority’s Key Asks

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority welcomes the publication of the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) second assessment, emphasising the crucial role of infrastructure in shaping the future of the United Kingdom. This press release highlights the alignment between the Combined Authority’s key asks, as outlined during the NIC’s visit in November 2022, and the substantial recommendations made by the Commission in its latest assessment.

The NIC, an independent body, is responsible for making recommendations to the government on the country’s infrastructure needs over the next thirty years. In October 2023, the NIC released its second Assessment, presenting 46 recommendations covering various sectors, including energy, transport, water, wastewater, waste, flood management, and digital.

The Combined Authority played a pivotal role in facilitating the NIC’s understanding of local challenges and opportunities by hosting a fact-finding tour and a roundtable discussion in November 2022. The Authority highlighted infrastructure barriers and showcased ongoing initiatives, particularly in water supply, flood resilience, and public transport improvements.

In terms of timing of infrastructure, the Combined Authority emphasised the need for improved planning and timely delivery of utilities investment to cope with rapid economic and population growth. The NIC, in response, recommends changing the major projects planning system, providing strategic clarity to Ofgem, ensuring fair regulation of utilities, and maintaining government policies through to completion.

Addressing water supply challenges due to climate change and prioritising it as a national barrier to the Greater Cambridge economy was another crucial ask. In alignment, the NIC recommends managing water demand, tackling leaks, building new reservoirs, and changing the major projects planning system to ensure timely asset delivery.

The Combined Authority’s call for a change in prioritisation and national investment in flood protection for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough aligns with the NIC’s advocacy for continued investment in enhanced flood risk infrastructure, with clear risk reduction targets and improved local coordination.

Regarding energy supply, the Combined Authority urged the NIC to reform energy systems to enable the electricity grid to support Net Zero and sustainable economic growth. The NIC responds by suggesting scaling up the grid, transforming the planning system, and accelerating deployment of renewable energy generation.

On the front of transport, the Combined Authority requested funding, regulatory freedoms, and capacity for an ambitious, sustainable, and inclusive transport system, alongside prioritising key rail transport infrastructure. The NIC’s recommendations include more devolution of powers and funding to local authorities for strategic transport planning, long-term funding for East-West Rail, and a program of road and rail investments targeting underperforming sections.


In line with the Combined Authority’s call to mainstream nature-based and green infrastructure solutions in investment planning, the NIC recommends that operators in transport, water, and flood risk management sectors enhance the natural capital of the land they are responsible for.

The Combined Authority’s emphasis on revenue funding for changing behaviours alongside capital infrastructure investment aligns with the NIC’s recommendations to set out long-term plans to reduce water demand and provide subsidies for households installing heat pumps.

Recognising the impact of a changing climate on asset management, the Combined Authority called for more recognition in this regard. The NIC responds by calling for clear resilience standards for all infrastructure sectors by 2025 and better maintenance practices.

In terms of deeper devolution and finance, the Combined Authority pressed the NIC to devolve meaningful single pot funding decisions to localities. The NIC supports faster devolution, agrees on single multi-year financial settlements, and calls for more devolution of powers and funding for local authorities.

Mayor Dr Nik Johnson says: “I’m very pleased to see these recommendations as they rightly address our key concerns, match our vision for a prosperous and sustainable future, and set the stage for the types of transformative infrastructure developments needed to get us there.”