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NIC Visit to Kent (March 2019)

Kent and Medway presents its priorities to national infrastructure leaders

NIC Visit to Kent

Leaders of the National Infrastructure Commission, which provides expert and impartial advice to Government on infrastructure, visited Kent yesterday to see the regeneration and development for themselves.

The National Infrastructure Commission delegation, led by its Chairman, Sir John Armitt CBE, and Commissioner, Bridget Rosewell CBE, met representatives from the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership (KMEP), part of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) which includes local business and council leaders.

The visit provided an opportunity to discuss the Commission’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment, as well as KMEP’s infrastructure and investment priorities for the county.

These include the new Lower Thames Crossing; the dualling of the A2 to Dover, the world’s busiest roll-on roll-off ferry port, and improved links between the M2 and M20.

KMEP then identified its infrastructure needs and investment priorities, particularly relating to transport and housing, funding and finance, and choosing infrastructure to make communities where people want to live, work, and rest.

While in Kent, the delegation toured key Ashford development sites which have benefitted from £39.8m of investment by KMEP through the SELEP and Government’s Local Growth Fund, including the Chilmington Green housing development and the M20 Junction 10A works.

The Commission published its National Infrastructure Assessment in July, setting out a strategic vision for how the UK’s infrastructure needs can be met over the next 30 years. The report includes a series of recommendations which would benefit businesses and residents in Kent, including proposals for additional funding for the maintenance of local roads and better urban transport.

Commenting on his visit to Kent and Medway, Sir John Armitt said: “The visit provided a valuable opportunity to engage with senior representatives from across Kent and hear first-hand their priorities for infrastructure in the region.

“Whether it’s additional funding for local roads or our vision for better urban transport, the Commission’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment has a whole host of proposals that could make Kent an even better place to live and work.

“Ahead of the Government publishing its National Infrastructure Strategy later in the year, we invite local leaders to help us make the case to Ministers for setting out an ambitious plan that would make our recommendations a reality.”

Jo James, Vice-Chairman of KMEP, and chief executive of Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said: “As part of the Local Enterprise Partnership, we want to create communities where people wish to live, work and play.
“Place shaping needs to be at the heart of growth and fundamentally. We want developers to build not just houses, but rich and sustainable communities that residents are proud to live in which ensure good quality of life, and access to jobs, services and places that people enjoy living in.

“Infrastructure investment is required in the county if we are to succeed with this ambition – whether that be road and rail infrastructure, broadband, energy or utility provision. We were therefore delighted the National Infrastructure Commission visited us to hear about our local priorities. We hope this will be the start of a fruitful ongoing relationship with the organisation.”

The Government is due to publish its formal response to the Assessment later in the year, in the form of a National Infrastructure Strategy.

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