National infrastructure is central to the UK government’s agenda for Covid-19 recovery, levelling up and achieving net zero carbon emissions.
Can investment in energy, transport, water, waste and digital infrastructure actually deliver on these expectations… fast and affordably? In this conversation, Sir John Armitt, who is chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, joins Professor Jim Hall to explore the vision and practicalities of providing infrastructure systems that meets society’s goals.
Sir John Armitt
Chairman, National Infrastructure Commission
Sir John Armitt is Chairman of the National Express Group, City & Guilds Group, and the National Infrastructure Commission. Sir John is also on the Board of the Berkeley Group and Expo 2020.
In September 2013 Sir John published an independent review on long term infrastructure planning in the UK. The recommendations in the Armitt Review received widespread support and in large part have now been adopted by the current government, resulting in the National Infrastructure Commission.
After leaving John Laing plc in 1993, where Sir John had been Chairman of Laing’s International and Civil Engineering divisions, he became Chief Executive of Union Railways. In 1997 he became Chief Executive of Costain, a position he held until 2001. Sir John was Chief Executive of Railtrack plc from 2001-2002, Chief Executive of Network Rail from 2002-2007, Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority from 2007-2014, Chairman of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council from 2007-2012, a member of the Airports Commission from 2012-2015, a member of the Board of Transport for London from 2012-2016 and a Board member and later Chairman of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission from 2016-2018.
Sir John was President of the Institution of Civil Engineers from 2015-2016, he is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Institution of Civil Engineers and City and Guilds of London Institute and has received honorary doctorates from the universities of Birmingham, Imperial College London, Portsmouth, Reading and Warwick.
Sir John was awarded the CBE in 1996 for his contribution to the rail industry and received a knighthood in 2012 for services to engineering and construction.
Professor Jim Hall
Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks
Professor Jim Hall FREng is Professor of Climate and Environmental Risks in the School of Geography and the Environment, Lead Researcher on the Oxford Martin Programme on Transboundary Resource Management, a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Engineering Science and fellow of Linacre College. He was director of the Environmental Change Institute from 2011 to September 2018.
Prof Hall is internationally recognised for his research on risk analysis and decision making under uncertainty for water resource systems, flood and coastal risk management, infrastructure systems and adaptation to climate change.
Professor Hall is a member of the Prime Minister's Council for Science and Technology and is Expert Advisor to the National Infrastructure Commission. He is Chair of the Science Advisory Committee of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). He was a member of the UK independent Committee on Climate Change Adaptation from 2009 to 2019.
Prof Hall’s group in the University of Oxford is at the forefront of risk analysis of climatic extremes and their impacts on infrastructure networks and economic systems, from local to global scales. He led the development of the National Infrastructure Systems Model (NISMOD), which was used for the UK’s first National Infrastructure Assessment and for analysis of the resilience of energy, transport, digital and water networks in Great Britain. Prof Hall conceived of, and now chairs, the UK’s Data and Analytics Facility for National Infrastructure (DAFNI). His systems analysis methods have been applied worldwide, including in Argentina, China, Curacao, St Lucia, Tanzania and Vietnam. He published four books, including, The Future of National Infrastructure: A System-of-Systems Approach, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2016. He is editor of the journal Water Resources Research.