The Chancellor has appointed civil servant Phil Graham as chief executive of the National Infrastructure Commission

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Chancellor George Osborne has appointed a senior civil servant as chief executive to the newly-launched National Infrastructure Commission, three months ahead of its first report on the UK’s key infrastructure priorities.

Department for Transport senior civil servant Phil Graham will take on the commission’s chief executive role, overseeing the work of interim chair Lord Adonis and the body’s seven other commissioners.

Graham has previously led the development of the government’s high speed rail strategy, as well as leading the team supporting Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission and has worked on the London Olympics.

The commission was launched in October to provide independent analysis of the UK’s long-term infrastructure needs. The commission will publish a National Infrastructure Assessment every Parliament setting out its analysis over a 10 to 30 year horizon.

The commission has also been tasked ‎with carrying out specific studies of pressing infrastructure challenges, including three initial projects by Budget 2016 - Northern transport connectivity, especially east-west across the Pennines; large-scale investment in London’s transport infrastructure, including Crossrail 2 and ensuring investment in energy infrastructure can meet future demand in the most efficient way.

Meanwhile, Kevin Parry has been appointed interim chairman of the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to replace Robert Napier, who is stepping down at the end of the year.

Commenting on Graham’s appointment, Osborne said: “I am delighted to appoint Phil Graham as CEO of the National Infrastructure Commission.

“The NIC will provide expert, independent advice to the government on the most pressing ‎infrastructure challenges facing the country. Phil’s role as CEO will be vital in overseeing this work.

Lord Adonis, interim chair of the National Infrastructure Commission said: “Phil Graham is supremely qualified to be the first CEO of the National Infrastructure Commission.

“He has done brilliant work on a wide range of nationally significant projects from high speed rail to the London Olympics and most recently ‎as secretary of the Airports Commission.”

Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, welcomed the appointment: “This appointment shows the seriousness with which the Government is approaching its infrastructure agenda.

“His world-class expertise in delivering nationally-significant infrastructure projects means he is ideally suited to leading the National Infrastructure Commission. CECA looks forward to working with him and other members of the Commission in delivering the infrastructure the country needs in the years to come.”

National Infrastructure Commissioners in full

  • Lord Heseltine – former deputy prime minister who has long championed the regeneration of Britain’s inner cities through infrastructure investment
  • Sir John Armitt – former chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, and next year’s President of the Institute of Civil Engineers
  • Professor Tim Besley – a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee and the LSE’s Growth Commission, which recommended an independent infrastructure body
  • Demis Hassabis – artificial intelligence researcher, neuroscientist and head of DeepMind Technologies
  • Sadie Morgan – a founding director of dRMM Architects and Design Panel Chair of HS2
  • Bridget Rosewell – a senior adviser at Volterra and former Chief Economist and Chief Economic Adviser to the Greater London Authority
  • Sir Paul Ruddock – chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the University of Oxford Endowment