Chancellor Philip Hammond has turned the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) into an executive agency, putting the body on a permanent footing.

The NIC’s role has been laid-out in a charter, while the organisation will be given its own “budget, freedom and autonomy”.

The revamped NIC will begin operating in January, with former Network Rail Chief Executive Sir John Armitt taking up the role of Interim Deputy Chair with immediate effect.

The commission has already studied the cases for smart power, northern connectivity and the Crossrail 2 proposal.

Its report on energy earlier this year urged a “smart power” revolution which could save UK consumers £8 billion a year by 2030. Demand flexibility, interconnection and storage were highlighted as the three pillars necessary.

Long-term thinking

Lord Adonis, Interim Chair of the NIC, said: “The NIC was established to transform the way we plan and deliver major infrastructure projects in this country through expert analysis, long-term thinking and strategic advice.

“Today’s announcement is a big step towards providing the commission with the independence it needs to do the work.

“Now it is vital that we get the details right to ensure that the NIC has everything it needs to get on with the job.‎”

> Read the charter