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  • by Trevor Loveday

National Infrastructure Commission calls for regulation for resilience

The National Infrastructure Commission has advised water, energy and telecoms regulation to adapt to better support strategic investment and public confidence.

The commission found regulation must “facilitate a scale of transformation it was not designed to deliver,” including providing for “unprecedented levels of investment” to deliver the net zero target and to build resilience to flood and drought.

Among the recommendations in its report, were:

• new duties for Ofwat, Ofgem and Ofcom to promote the achievement of net zero and improve the resilience of the UK’s infrastructure.

• government to provide regulators with a clear strategic focus on the country’s infrastructure priorities for the long term, to guide regulation.

Most major strategic investments should be opened to competition to support innovation, rather than relying on incumbents or government to have the best ideas.

The UK Regulators Network should be given a stronger leadership role through the appointment of an independent chair to promote collaboration and coordination, and ensure markets continue to deliver for consumers.

Regulators should be able to prevent companies from engaging in price discrimination that does not provide an overall benefit to consumers

The commission argued the current system does not need to be fundamentally changed, but does need to adapt to deal with the “unfamiliar demands on regulation” current circumstances demand.

Engineers praise National Infrastructure Commission for resilience work

Civil engineers have awarded the National Infrastructure Commission a prestigious prize for its work on its guidance on improving resilience to drought in England’s water supplies.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has given its Chris Binnie Award for Sustainable Water Management to the commission, acknowledging its 2018 report, Preparing for a drier future, and its “strong economic case for boosting the resilience of the water supply network instead of relying on emergency measures.”

ICE water panel member, Professor Chris Binnie (pictured), said the award recognised the NIC’s leadership in its report which was “a strategic step forward” with its recommendation that leakage be halved by 2050 taken up by the government, regulators, water companies, and others.

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