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Welsh infrastructure commission takes shape

Words: Roger Milne
M4 across the River Severn

The Welsh Government has begun consulting on establishing a National Infrastructure Commission for Wales.

This new body is set to be up and running in the next 12 months and is intended to inform and strengthen decision-making on major projects in Wales.

It will provide technical expert advice on decisions on all economic and environmental infrastructure in the country including energy, transport, water and sewerage, drainage, digital communications and flood management.

An annual report on its work will be published, and the commission will also undertake individual commissioned projects. It will also work alongside the UK infrastructure commission where responsibilities interact.

However, the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan will continue to be set by the Welsh Government, informed by the work of the new commission.

The idea of a Welsh infrastructure commission was a Plaid Cymru pledge backed by Labour in a post-election deal.

The nationalist party has insisted that without borrowing powers, the new body would be a "missed opportunity”.

In a separate but related development, the administration has published its draft Budget for 2017-18.

It confirmed that over the next four years its infrastructure plans include:

  • £1.36 billion towards the delivery of 20,000 affordable homes;

  • £900 million for the M4 relief road, subject to the outcome of the public inquiry;

  • £369 million towards a South Wales Metro and funding to take forward proposals for a North Wales Metro;

  • £300 million for improvements to motorways and trunk roads;

  • £46 million for a new Welsh Development Bank; and

  • Support for city and growth deals across Wales.

Read more about the deliery of 20,000 affordable homes here.

Image credit | Shutterstock