Latest news

RTPI urges housing yardstick for national infrastructure assessment

Published: Thursday, 25th August 2016

RTPI responds to the National Infrastructure Commission’s consultation calling for infrastructure to be used to help solve the housing crisis and tackle climate change...

The ability to unlock large housing developments should be made an explicit yardstick for assessing national infrastructure, the RTPI has proposed.

This was highlighted in the Institute’s response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) consultation on how projects should be prioritised and assessed.

The RTPI has voiced fears that assessing infrastructure ‘need ’based solely on existing patterns of demand would risk continued investment in London and the South East at the expense of other areas.

The Institute has made the case for a “feedback loop” approach. This would mean the Commission’s proposals for national infrastructure would invite matching plans from local authorities and developers for major housing growth.

These plans would then be fed back into the original needs assessment, allowing the Commission to prioritise and fund infrastructure that would unlock housing.

RTPI Policy Manager James Harris said: “This is an opportunity for the government to use infrastructure to help solve the housing crisis, bridge the north south divide in England and tackle climate change. Our approach would ensure infrastructure acts as a catalyst to unlock large scale housing, jobs and economic growth.”

The institute has also called on the NIC to:


  • Assess the impact of different infrastructure plans on the shape and density of the built environment
  • Factor in existing plans and aspirations for local and regional infrastructure from local government, Local Enterprise Partnerships and private companies
  • Appoint commissioners with explicit responsibilities for the nations and English regions
  • Examine options for tackling the serious levels of water stress expected in Greater London, the South East and the East of England given their high household growth projections
  • Look at the potential benefits of devolved flood defence spending to combined authorities, and planning for flood risk over an 80­100­year time period
  • Consider the impacts of infrastructure proposals on natural resources and the environment, through an ‘ecosystems approach’ in the assessment.


The NIC is currently identifying the country’s long-term infrastructure needs and making recommendations on how identified infrastructure needs should be met through the publication of a National Infrastructure Assessment.

Roger Milne