UK infra body settles on Adonis, hires Meridiam strategist

After a six-month interim period, Lord Adonis received confirmation of his role as chair while the body has also enlisted advice from the investment community.

The UK's National Infrastructure Commission has confirmed the appointment of former Transport Minister Lord Adonis as its new chair.

Adonis, who has led the body since its original formation in 2015, was named as interim chair six months ago, when the government said it would hold an “open competition” to find a new permanent chair. Sir John Armitt also retains his role as Adonis' deputy.

However, the NIC has also announced the appointment of four new commissioners, including Meridiam chief strategy officer Julia Prescot, the first commissioner the NIC has appointed from an infrastructure fund manager. Prescot has been at the French manager since 2005 and has worked on a number of UK PPP/PFI projects and has also been closely involved in Meridiam's ESG initiatives. She will continue her role at Meridiam.

Prescot will be joined by economist Dame Kate Barker, engineering Professor David Fisk and IG chairman Andy Green. The four commissioners will serve for five years.

“Our infrastructure networks are central to the UK's economy and society, but too often their planning has been piecemeal and short-term,” Lord Adonis said. “These commissioners, along with our existing ones, are leading experts and ensure the NIC provides the best advice to government on the UK's long-term infrastructure needs.”

The new appointments come after the government last year established the commission permanently, although not on a statutory basis as originally planned . The move came under fire amid claims its attachment to the Treasury hinders its ability to provide long-term advice. The commission will deliver a national infrastructure assessment once in every Parliament.