Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has received a final report from the Ministerial Advisory Panel on Infrastructure.
The report is the culmination of an intensive six week period of work, undertaken by the independent panel who have considered how an Infrastructure Commission for Northern Ireland might support more effectively the long term planning and development of infrastructure here.
The Panel which comprised a small group of independent experts, have, since their first meeting on the 25 August 2020, engaged with a wide range of key stakeholder groups via written evidence gathering and virtual engagement sessions. The Panel have also considered global best practice and spoken with a number of other Infrastructure Authorities, across these islands and beyond.
Minister Mallon said:
‘I am delighted with the progress made by the Panel in such a short timeframe. This report provides expert insight, knowledge and importantly strategic ideas on a way forward at such a challenging time in the face of Covid and Brexit.
"The in depth work undertaken in such a short space of time will help form the basis of the direction I know must be taken to get us, our place, our people and our communities on the road to recovery and opportunity. Now, more than ever, we must seize our chance for change. In the context of the challenges of Covid, Brexit, Climate Change and economic strain, investing and long-term planning for critical infrastructure has never been more important.
“At a time of such challenge and change, as a society we must pull together rather than pull apart. Which is why the leadership shown in our communities, the private sector, the voluntary sector and beyond, must be harnessed to aid those of us in Government to deliver a better quality of life for all our citizens.
“Having political power is only positive if you can use that power for positive change. This report is, for me, a building block for the genuine partnership that is required to deliver that positive change. I am greatly appreciative of the Panel’s time and dedication. I will now consider their detailed recommendations and will bring a proposal to the Executive which will assist us in addressing some of the key challenges we face not only in respect of infrastructure, but also in terms of delivering a better, greener, healthier, happier future.”
Kirsty McManus, Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Panel said: “Our society is facing a range of crises – the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic downturn, climate change. We have a unique opportunity to improve the quality of life for our citizens, to protect and enhance our environment, and to reset our economy. These objectives cannot be fully achieved without first reforming infrastructure planning and delivery. The Panel firmly believes that the establishment of an independent Infrastructure Commission is the crucial first step in empowering us to turbocharge infrastructure to deliver cleaner, greener, sustainable and inclusive growth for all.”
Notes to editors:
- The scope of the Panel was to reflect the 'hard' infrastructure that falls within the remit of the Department for Infrastructure, namely, water, drainage and inland waterways, public transport, roads and cycling infrastructure and will be made up of a small group of independent experts and key stakeholders with an interest in infrastructure.
- To ensure the development of a series of holistic recommendations, the Advisory Panel may also give consideration to the appropriateness of any future Infrastructure Commission having a remit beyond that infrastructure which falls within the immediate remit of the Department for Infrastructure but this will not be part of its formal remit.
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