The chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission has said the UK economy risks falling behind internationally unless the current state of the country’s infrastructure – including its energy system – is improved.

Lord Adonis warned the UK faces gridlock on the roads, railways and in the skies, slower mobile and broadband connections and ever-worsening air quality unless the Government tackles the ‘three Cs’ – Congestion, Capacity and Carbon.

He backed calls from regional leaders to tackle air quality, particularly in our cities – especially by building the smart charging infrastructure needed for the latest electric vehicles, which will help to reduce harmful carbon emissions.

Lord Adonis pointed out that 60 per cent of the UK’s power stations will need to be replaced to meet carbon targets.

As well as getting ready for electric vehicles, he said the UK Government needed to face up to the challenge of removing carbon emissions from heating and waste, and take advantage of the falling costs of renewables in electricity generation

‘Cannot afford to sit on our hands’

Lord Adonis said: “We have a proud history in this country of delivering world-class infrastructure – but for years funding has been squeezed, policy decisions have been erratic and the network is showing signs of age and strain.

“The endless delay to a Parliamentary decision on Heathrow is a case in point – and perhaps the most serious infrastructure failure of all. If we are to make the most of our economic potential and compete globally, we need the ‘Heathrow is full’ sign to come down.

“But we also risk falling behind internationally if we don’t improve our mobile and broadband connections, and residents of our great cities will suffer unless we do something to improve air quality.

“We cannot afford to sit on our hands – Ministers must act now to tackle the Three Cs of congestion, capacity and carbon if we are to have infrastructure fit for the future, supporting economic growth across the country.

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