Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
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Priorities for the UK infrastructure bank - investment focus, powers and responsibilities, and its role in policy ambitions on growth, net-zero and levelling up

Morning, Wednesday, 19th May 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will discuss the future of UK infrastructure planning and delivery following the launch of the National Infrastructure Bank, and the way forward for addressing key challenges around connectivity, reducing regional inequalities, and the environment.

It will bring out latest thinking on:

  • the UK’s new National Infrastructure Bank - the immediate priorities for its design and development, and the scope of its powers and responsibilities
  • regional inequalities - the potential role of the Bank in the Government’s levelling up agenda and support for regional growth and cross-region strategy and infrastructure development
  • decarbonisation - how the Bank can help working towards net-zero targets and government policy ambitions for a Green Industrial Revolution

The agenda:

  • Long-term approaches to UK-wide infrastructure development and opportunities for the National Infrastructure Bank to support regional funding and recovery
  • Priorities for Bank design and the potential scope of powers and responsibilities - options for finance and investment models, its role at a national and local level, and learning from examples of best practice
  • Coordinating national infrastructure investment and policy following the UK’s exit from the European Investment Bank and addressing funding shortfalls
  • Growing private sector investment in UK infrastructure and how investor confidence can be improved
  • Leveraging funding and investment for transport infrastructure, including cross-nation connectivity upgrades
  • Regional inequalities, government policy, and investment for growth - the future scope for devolution, cross-region strategy alignment, and designing tailored solutions to social and economic challenges
  • Infrastructure investment and the Government’s aims for a Green Industrial Revolution - key steps for expanding clean energy rollout, new employment opportunities, and regional leadership in green technology
  • Developing and delivering a National Infrastructure Bank to support the UK’s social, environmental and economic goals

Areas for discussion:

Design and development of the UK’s new National Infrastructure Bank - assessing priorities, including:

  • potential scope of powers and responsibilities - how the Bank might best be coordinated and administered across UK regions:
    • funding:
      • options for enabling direct project investment and utilising grant funding
      • how finance and payback periods might be regulated fairly
      • strategies and frameworks for cooperation between the Bank and local authorities
    • relationships with other infrastructure project authorities - minimising disconnects, including on consents and approvals processes
  • finance - options for models to support projects, such as:
    • auction based - the role that an approach similar to Contracts for Difference might play in driving innovation, competitive tendering, long-term outlook and low-cost project delivery
    • privately-led finance schemes - discussing next steps, including:
      • how a successor to the Private Finance Initiative might be designed with value for money in mind
      • the potential use of models like the Regulated Asset Base for infrastructure and utility funding
  • meeting funding shortfalls following UK exit from the EIB - discussing immediate steps, including:
    • what is needed from policymakers in order to provide support during the transition, such as identifying urgent gaps
    • whether replication is appropriate
    • how the Bank can address long-term challenges 
  • investor confidence:
    • priorities for policymaker engagement with sources of private investment in UK infrastructure projects going ahead
    • options for incentives and for the regulatory regime 

Tackling geographic inequalities and accelerating regional development - looking at the Bank’s potential role and its interaction with devolved administrations:

  • key relationships:
    • support for regional leadership in addressing infrastructure issues, and sharing best practice
    • options for devolved funding and strategy development powers, and increasing regional and local coordination on specific infrastructure deficits
  • cross-regional infrastructure and economic strategy development - discussing priorities, including:
    • how barriers to transport infrastructure can be overcome for expanding cross-region connectivity
    • delivering improved and more reliable road and rail assets
    • how the Bank can help translate this into greater business and cross-region growth
  • tackling regional inequalities - the Bank’s role in strategies for helping to better address socio-economic challenges, in area such as house building, and improving living standards

Contribution to the UK’s net-zero agenda

  • focus and strategy - setting priorities and protocols for the Bank’s infrastructure investment to stimulate the growth of green jobs and industries, and wider economic development 
  • links with wider policy - coordinating the work of the Bank with other initiatives across government on infrastructure investment to support clean industries 
  • regional and sector-specific support - in areas such as:
    • regional industry decarbonisation and addressing cost barriers for energy-intensive manufacturers
    • commercialisation of technologies that aid fuel switching and energy efficiency
    • taking a role in reinforcing UK leadership in green industrial revolution
  • clean energy infrastructure rollout - the potential role of the Bank in:
    • supporting expansion in electricity networks and grid capability for integrating clean and intermittent energy
    • providing guidance on the type of action needed to expand large-scale infrastructure needs such as electric vehicle rollout

The context for discussion:

  • the National Infrastructure Strategy - outlining long-term priorities for infrastructure development across the UK up to 2050
  • UK exit from the European Investment Bank - following the end of the UK-EU Transition Period, and with the UK no longer a member of the EIB
  • the UK national infrastructure bank - due to be operational by this Spring, intended to provide investment into specific significant projects, and leverage development funding for local and mayoral authorities in areas such as digital and transport connectivity and renewables
  • A New Deal for Britain - announcement from PM last Summer with £5bn for job creation, supply chains and shovel-ready road and energy projects
  • Project Speed - a new infrastructure delivery taskforce, announced with the New Deal, looking at aligning planning reform with the Government’s wider infrastructure strategy and agenda
  • reform to the Green Book - reforms to frameworks around funding decisions and calculations intended to increase fairness in investment distribution across the UK
  • 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution - from the PM with £12bn in initial investment to stimulate research and development of clean transport and energy technologies
  • Planning for the Future publication - consultation on government reform of the planning system ahead of a Planning White Paper, aimed at streamlining the planning and consents process, reducing red tape and barriers to development, and speeding along the process of project delivery
  • Energy White Paper - a long term vision for developing the energy system and the low-carbon transition up to 2050, including commitments to:
    • deliver 40GW of offshore wind and 5GW of hydrogen production by 2030
    • explore new options for public and private funding of nuclear technology
    • invest £1bn in carbon capture and storage

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials involved in this area of public policy, together with other stakeholders involved with planning and delivering infrastructure projects, including construction and engineering firms, property and land developers, representatives of local government, law firms, urban and city planners, science centres, digital and technology platforms, energy companies, transport bodies, as well as reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Julia Prescot

Commissioner, National Infrastructure Commission

Shamit Gaiger

Director, Strategic Advisory, AECOM


The Rt Hon The Lord Butler of Brockwell

Member, Finance Bill Sub-Committee


Professor Raquel Ortega-Argilés

Chair, Regional Economic Development, Department of Strategy and International Business, University of Birmingham

Senior speaker confirmed from Burges Salmon

Ed Clarke

Co Founder and Managing Director, Infracapital

Jonathan Walker

Policy Director, North East England Chamber of Commerce