Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has set up a Ministerial Advisory Panel to assist her in delivering cleaner, greener and sustainable and inclusive infrastructure.
Minister Mallon has asked Kirsty McManus of the Institute of Directors to chair the panel, which will comprise of a small group of independent experts and key stakeholders with an interest in infrastructure.
The panel will also 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. 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. Its scope will reflect the “hard” infrastructure that falls within the remit of the Department for Infrastructure, namely, water, drainage and inland waterways, public transport, roads and cycling infrastructure.
Minister 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.
“Since becoming Minister, I have been engaging with key stakeholders on the need for a long term approach to infrastructure planning and delivery and am keen to develop a proposal, informed by partners and experts, which explores the potential value that an Infrastructure Commission for Northern Ireland might bring not just to the North but to our entire island.
“More than ever, when faced with the challenge of Covid-19 and the turbulence of Brexit, do we need to radically change the way we do things and plan for our future. It is my firm view that planning in government must be done in partnership, across departments but also with the public and private sectors, with our communities and with our neighbours across these islands. This is our chance for change, it is my hope that this advisory panel will form part of the building blocks, to help us build that better future that citizens here so deserve.”
Kirsty McManus 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.”