Sir John Armitt named new permanent chair of National Infrastructure Commission

Sir John Armitt has been appointed as the new permanent chair of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), in a move which provides clarity and ensures the commission keeps holding the government to account on all things infrastructure. 

Before today, Armitt had been appointed as temporary chair following the resignation of Lord Adonis last month. Previously he was the NIC’s deputy chairman and a member of the commission since its formation in 2015. He brings a proven track record of working at the forefront of UK infrastructure in positions that include the chief executive of Network Rail, president of the Institution of Civil Engineers and chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, where he played a key role in coordinating the 2012 London Olympics.

Commenting on his appointment, Armitt said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed as the chair of the National Infrastructure Commission as we prepare for the publication of our first National Infrastructure Assessment later this year. Making the right choices about planning and investing in infrastructure is critical to the UK’s prosperity and quality of life. I want the commission to remain focused on tackling the long-term issues of congestion, capacity and carbon – and to continue to hold the government to account where decisive action is needed – so we can secure the improvements that companies, communities and families need. I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners and listening to our stakeholders as we set out the way forward for the UK’s infrastructure.” 

The permanent appointment of a former chair of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering advisory board is timely, with the year set to be a busy one for the commission with the NIC set to publish its first National Infrastructure Assessment, looking ahead up to 2050.

Chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, said today’s announcement provides him with confidence that the NIC will continue to develop “strategic” and “ambitious” infrastructure plans. “Boosting productivity is essential to sustaining real wage growth,” Hammond added. “And investing in infrastructure is one of the keys to raising our productivity performance. “The National Infrastructure Commission’s expertise is vital for ensuring the UK’s infrastructure is fit for the future. Sir John Armitt brings years of experience of UK infrastructure. With him at the helm, I am confident we will develop a strategic and ambitious infrastructure plan that supports economic growth for decades to come,” Hammond said.

ACE chief executive, Nelson Ogunshakin, also welcomed the news. “ACE is delighted that Sir John Armitt has stepped up as permanent chair to maintain the commission’s momentum and its vital role in reminding ministers and civil servants, who may be distracted by issues surrounding Brexit, of the long-term importance of infrastructure investment to the economy and society," he said. "John is someone with a very wide knowledge and experience of infrastructure delivery, is extremely well respected by the industry and we look forward to continuing our already excellent relationship with him," Ogunshakin said.

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