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CPRE lecture: infrastructure and the countryside

CPRE lecture: infrastructure and the countryside

For our cities and rural areas to move forward, we need to improve our country’s infrastructure. If we are to secure buy-in from the public and leave a positive legacy for our landscapes, we need to do this with care and precision, engaging and consulting with local communities along the way. With the UK’s National Infrastructure Pipeline now at a record £500bn, there has never been a more crucial time to make sure we get these issues right.

Our lecture, held on Tuesday 6th December, sparked discussion and debate on infrastructure in the countryside with a wide range of leading experts.

Our main speaker was Phil Graham, Chief Executive of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), delved into the highlights of the Commission’s first year in operation before setting out how it is drawing up the first ever National Infrastructure Assessment, a vision of the country’s infrastructure needs in 2050 and the best way to get us there.

Our panel of respondents then provided us with their reflections on Phil’s speech. The panellists - Deborah Mattinson (Founder Partner of Britain Thinks), Martin Stockley (deputy chair of the HS2 Independent Design Panel) and Ralph Smyth (CPRE) - each gave their own view on the subject, outlining their views on how infrastructure should be approached in the UK. The discussion was chaired by CPRE’s chair Su Sayer.

What they had to say

You can listen to the full discussion here:

A summary of lead speaker, Phil Graham, can be found here:

Phil Graham

Full transcripts from the respondents can be read here:

Deborah Mattinson

Martin Stockley

Ralph Smyth

About the speakers

Phil Graham, Chief Executive, National Infrastructure Commission

Phil joined the National Infrastructure Commission from the Department for Transport, where he worked on many of the UK's most important infrastructure projects. He led the development of the Government's high speed rail strategy from its inception and took it through one of the country's largest ever consultation and analysis processes.

Deborah Mattinson, Founder Partner, Britain Thinks

Deborah has more than twenty five years’ experience of providing clients with research based strategic advice. In that time she has worked with global businesses, major charities, international governments and senior politicians. She is particularly well known for developing innovative ways to bring decision makers closer to their stakeholders.

Martin Stockley, deputy chair, HS2 Independent Design Panel

Martin is a leading authority on the application of engineering in the design of infrastructure and the built environment. As a practising engineer he has worked on the design of major civil engineering, on buildings (both new and historic) and on streets, parks and public spaces. He has advised the UK government on the design of schools and is an advisor to English Heritage. He has been a member of the Crossrail design panel in London, PlacesMatter! in the West Midlands and the regeneration panel in Bath.

Ralph Smyth, Head of Infrastructure & Legal, Campaign to Protect Rural England

Ralph leads on CPRE's work on infrastructure and legal issues, focusing on transport. Ralph is a member of the Highways England’s Design Panel and is a frequent commentator in the media on transport issues. He has represented CPRE in examinations, a hybrid bill and judicial reviews of nationally significant infrastructure projects. Ralph led the environmental sector’s work to influence the road elements of the Infrastructure Act 2015, securing major amendments on environmental regulation and sustainable travel.

Chaired by Su Sayer, CBE, Chair, Campaign to Protect Rural England

Su is the co-founder and was previously chief executive of United Response - a major national charity that supports people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and physical disabilities. It is now a charity with a £75m turnover and a workforce of over 3500 people. Su has been the chair for Campaign to Protect Rural England since 2014.

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