Agenda item

Priorities for National Infrastructure - Response to National Infrastructure Assessment

(To receive a report By David Hickman, Environment Commissioner, which provides the Committee with an opportunity to consider Lincolnshire County's Council's response to the National Infrastructure Assessment)


It was reported that the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) was a body independent of Government, responsible for carrying out an overall assessment of the UK's policy on economic infrastructure of national importance once per parliament.  This took the form of a National Infrastructure Assessment, which would underpin national policy towards economic infrastructure investment for the next thirty years.


It was noted that LCC members had contributed throughout the drafting of LCC's response to the draft National Infrastructure Assessment, although it was highlighted that the deadline for responses had not fitted in particularly well with the committee cycle.  Members were advised that the response was submitted to the NIC by the 12 January 2018 deadline.


Members were provided with the opportunity to ask questions to the officers present in relation to the information contained within the report and some of the points raised during discussion included the following:

·         It was commented that this was an extremely important document.

·         The Committee would be developing some of themes highlighted in the document going forward.

·         It was highlighted that the timing of the release of the consultation had not fitted in with the Committee dates, but the electronic link to the consultation document had been circulated.

·         Members were urged to highlight any areas that they would like the council to continue pushing on a national level

·         It was commented that this was a very clever document as it had been answered in such a way that the recipients would have to think about the responses.  It would give the opportunity to open a lot of discussions at this Committee and it was suggested it could be used as an agenda planning tool for the Committee.

·         In paragraph 28 of the response, reference was made to the establishment of a formal commission, and it was queried what the role of this commission would be, and whether it would be a decision making body or somewhere for an exchange of information.  Officers advised they would get a more detailed to the answer after this meeting, as there was not necessarily a formal proposal of what this should look like at the moment.

·         It was queried whether the movement of goods by rail had been included as part of the review.  It was acknowledged that there was very little about rail in the document, the focus was very much about city regions and not about moving between them and the structure of the questions asked did not allow for the introduction of this topic.

·         It was noted that it was not too late to introduce the subject of rail and that additional information could be submitted.  It was suggested that this should be included more from the commercial aspect as it was thought it must be one of the most cost effective and environmentally friendly ways to move goods around the country.

·         It was suggested that there was a need for members to have more knowledge of economics, such as what was the cost of a mile of motorway, dual carriageway etc. as this would give more understanding of the value and worth of each project.

·         The importance of the electrification of the joint line was emphasised

·         It was commented that the last thing which was needed was more rail freight through Lincoln.

·         It was commented that one area where Lincolnshire could get left behind was infrastructure for electric vehicles, and it was queried whether this was one area which the Committee should monitor.

·         It was queried whether there would be regular feedback from the issues raised in the document and it was confirmed that officers would be keeping on top of this.  It was considered important that the Council was able to make interventions at the appropriate time ensure that comments were taken account of.

·         It was suggested whether there was a need for charging points to be included as a necessity in new developments.  It was queried whether there would be funding from central government to help with these initiatives.  It was highlighted that the Planning Committee at the City fo Lincoln Council did take into consideration developments with charging points, and it was noted that the new car park did have that capability.

·         The most important point to highlight was for the government to not forget about rural areas.

·         In relation to electric cars, concerns were raised regarding the impact on the national grid and there would need to be a balance of energy use if there were going to be increasing numbers of electric vehicles around.




            That the Highways and Transport Scrutiny Committee retain a watching brief on the following areas in advance of the publication of the National Infrastructure Assessment:

·         Use of the railways

·         Electric vehicles

·         Planning policy in Lincolnshire

·         Cost benefit analysis taking rurality into consideration.

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