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Investing in future UK infrastructure

Image of London City Airport development by Pascall + Watson Architects

Sustainable cities are those that attract long term investment and can develop modern infrastructure that eases travel congestion, supporting an expanding population. How we develop education, healthcare and business hubs around new infrastructure, was a theme discussed in our first panel at Future Cities Forum in November, held at Royal Arsenal, Woolwich - with Bexley Co's Huw Lewis, KPMG's Adam Mason, London City Airport and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).

Professor Sadie Morgan, Commissioner at the NIC said that it was vital that the 'knitting-in and integration' of communities and places around new infrastructure takes place, so investment serves a social and local purpose as well as an economic and national one.

Director of Corporate Affairs at London City Airport, Liam McKay, made the point that major infrastructure hubs like airports need to have a 'sense of place'. He said that the step-change for London City Airport would be embracing and reflecting the city's identity around creativity, inclusiveness and diversity into the design of the terminal and customer experience.

Liam reminded the audience of council regeneration heads, developers and cultural leaders , that UK infrastructure is currently of great interest to international long term investors. He pointed to the three Canadian pension funds and the Kuwaiti Investment Authority, the world's fifth biggest sovereign wealth fund, which have invested just under £500 million to quadruple the size of London City Airport and prepare it for the next generation of fuel-efficient passenger aircraft.

Sadie Morgan in her role as Deputy Chair of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission, explained that the Commission had taken on a very complex area but had chosen to focus regeneration efforts on 'five productive places'. These include the North Kent Foreshore and South Essex Foreshore, enabling the generation of new jobs and skills training including a Centre for Resilient Infrastructure and a Health 'Super Centre'.

Please watch Sadie and Liam speak in the videos below:

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