The Government has set up the National Infrastructure Commission under the Chairmanship of Lord Adonis. Lord Adonis was the former labour MP and cabinet member who was also a member of the Armitt Commission that recommended setting up such an arrangement to help provide independent oversight and recommendations to the Government on national infrastructure requirements.
One of the focuses of the Commission will be further developing a low carbon energy infrastructure providing security of supply. Even though recommended, some are suggesting the Commission’s work on energy infrastructure will effectively usurp DECC’s position and that the new nuclear portfolio is effectively being passed to the Commission, including the issue of Hinkley C and the renewables programme.
On announcing the new Commission, George Osborne described it as: “A Commission, set up in law, free from party arguments, which works out, calmly and dispassionately, what the country needs to build for its future, and holds any Government’s feet to the fire if it fails to deliver. …Like how we are going to make sure Britain has the energy supplies it needs. I’ve asked the new National Infrastructure Commission to start its work today.”
With the National Infrastructure Commission answerable only to the Treasury, that appears to leave DECC with considerably less powers for climate change policy; dealing with the UK’s nuclear decommissioning legacy and little else.