A new panel on infrastructure in Northern Ireland offers an opportunity to shape future priorities and support all sectors to drive economic recovery and improved quality of life, says the ICE.
The Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure announced the formation of a Ministerial Advisory Panel. It will assist the Assembly in delivering cleaner, greener and sustainable and inclusive infrastructure.
The panel will consider how an Infrastructure Commission for Northern Ireland might support more effectively the long-term planning and development of relevant infrastructure across the island of Ireland.
This follows a recommendation by the Institution in a recent policy paper
. The ICE recommended that an independent advisory body should be established to ensure a strategic approach to planning, delivering and financing infrastructure in Northern Ireland.
The Institution has been offered a place on the Ministerial Advisory Panel, and has appointed Jenny Green, ICE Director for Northern Ireland, to represent the views of members.
Jenny Green, ICE Director for Northern Ireland, said:
“Northern Ireland has the ability to be economically sustainable and globally competitive, however, our neglected infrastructure networks are impeding this. To ensure these networks are reliable and resilient, we need strategic, long-term planning, so the announcement of a panel to consider an Infrastructure Commission is a huge step in the right direction.
“I look forward to working with the panel in the coming weeks to help make progress towards a plan that brings an evidence-based approach, to unlock better social, economic and environmental outcomes and address shared global challenges.”
The Ministerial Advisory Panel will focus on developing a proposal that will identify the specific role and value of a Commission and how it might be established and might operate.
Announcing the panel, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon said:
“As Minister for Infrastructure I am committed to the delivery of change within our communities, that transforms lives, enhances our economy and leads to long term growth and opportunities on our island. I recognise that a modern and well maintained, sustainable infrastructure system is essential to deliver economic growth; address regional imbalance; tackle the climate emergency and shape our places and spaces so people want to live here, work here and invest here.”
Kirsty McManus, Director of the Institute of Directors, was appointed as the panel’s chair. On her appointment she said:
“I am delighted to have been asked to Chair this Ministerial Advisory Panel on Infrastructure to explore the value of an Infrastructure Commission for Northern Ireland. If people are the brains of our economy, then infrastructure constitutes the muscles without which business is impossible. I look forward to us working with the Minister and her Department to explore how we can secure a long-term approach to infrastructure planning and delivery in Northern Ireland and help drive our post Covid recovery.”
Read the Department for Infrastructure’s announcement on their website.
Read the Institution’s policy paper, calling for the formation of an advisory body for Northern Ireland, here.