Policy Forum for Northern Ireland

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Priorities for infrastructure - key projects, investment and delivery

TO BE PUBLISHED November 2020

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference focuses on the future of infrastructure in Northern Ireland following the COVID-19 pandemic.

It will be an opportunity to discuss priorities for a range of major projects being planned and implemented in NI.

We are pleased to be able to include in the agenda a keynote contribution from Nichola Mallon MLA, Minister for Infrastructure.

Why this is relevant to discuss now - the context:

It takes place with:

  • the recent announcement by the Minister for Infrastructure of the infrastructure budget in light of COVID-19, which pledged funding for:
    • blue/green infrastructure projects, a ‘transformation pot’ for greenways, and £30m for low emission buses
    • investment in road projects
    • funding for phase 3 of the Derry-Londonderry to Coleraine railway line
  • concern surrounding future funding for the public transport network and NI Water
  • recent commitments from the Minister for Infrastructure to deliver a series of sustainable infrastructure projects with more opportunities for active travel and safe routes for cycling and walking
  • the announcement in May by the Finance Minister of £700m in funding from the Executive for infrastructure and regeneration projects across Northern Ireland - including:
    • Phase 2 of Belfast Rapid Transport and the Newry Southern Relief Road
    • City and Growth Deals in the Belfast City Region, Derry-Londonderry, Mid South West Northern Ireland and Causeway Coast and Glens - with the Executive agreeing to match the UK Government’s funding
  • commitments from the UK Government in the New Decade, New Approach agreement to enable the Executive to invest in a range of capital projects including the A5 road scheme and essential sewage treatment
  • the recent announcement by the UK Government that it will look to work with the Northern Ireland Executive to speed up infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland and it will carry out a review to improve transport connections between different parts of the UK.
  • as work begins on the next iteration of the Northern Ireland Investment Strategy from 2022

Key areas for discussion:

Immediate infrastructure priorities

  • key immediate infrastructure priorities in Northern Ireland to adapt to the ‘new normal’ and aid the economic recovery from COVID-19

Active travel

  • implementation of schemes to pedestrianise streets in parts of Belfast and Derry-Londonderry, looking at:
    • whether such schemes will meet the needs of communities and businesses, with the projects being community led
    • the role local councils can play in facilitating other schemes across Northern Ireland
    • other innovative approaches that can be taken to increase cycling and walking opportunities, such as pop up cycle lanes to take pressure off public transport

Long term infrastructure projects

  • Northern Ireland’s long term infrastructure needs and how to ensure effective delivery, as the Strategic Investment Board continues to work on a revised investment strategy for the end of 2020
  • investment in wastewater infrastructure with:
    • the latest strategy from NI Water identifying the need for £2.5bn to correct historic underinvestment in the system and enable development and growth plans
    • recent concerns surrounding the available budget for public transport and NI Water
  • next steps for the public transport system in Northern Ireland and priorities for Translink following the pandemic, looking at progress in the development of key public transport projects, including:
    • phase 2 of the Belfast Rapid Transit system
    • the development of a transport hubs at Weavers Cross in Belfast
    • phase 3 of the Derry-Londonderry to Coleraine rail line
  • the delivery of key road projects such, as the A5
  • Northern Ireland’s long term energy needs, as:
    • the Department for Economy continues to draft a new Strategic Energy Framework
    • a decision is expected on the future of the North/South Interconnector in Northern Ireland

NI City and Growth Deals

  • progress - and remaining challenges - in delivering the terms agreed as part of the four City and Growth Deals in Northern Ireland, as well as the role the deals will play in meeting Northern Ireland’s future infrastructure needs, with a focus on:
    • delivery of the 22 projects in Belfast - particularly in the transport network, the innovation and digital sector, tourism, regeneration and skills
    • the development and delivery of the projects in Derry
    • identifying key interventions to maximise benefit of growth deal funding

The agenda:

  • The vision for infrastructure in Northern Ireland following COVID-19 - with a keynote contribution from Nichola Mallon MLA, Minister for Infrastructure
  • Delivering immediate infrastructure priorities for the ‘new normal’ - developing blue/green infrastructure projects, working with communities and business, and funding
  • Ensuring the effective planning and delivery of long term infrastructure needs and projects
  • The role of City and Growth Deals in meeting Northern Ireland’s infrastructure needs and the next steps in implementing the Deals
  • Key infrastructure priorities in Northern Ireland moving forward

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

This conference looks no different. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department of Infrastructure; the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Northern Ireland Office.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

Shortly after every Policy Forum for Northern Ireland seminar, a briefing document is produced. This is distributed to all delegates on the day as well as to our policymaker contacts in government, and to stakeholders more widely.

A seminar publication provides a timely record of proceedings, and acts as a guide to the latest thinking on current policy issues for those unable to be at the event.

This publication includes


Contributions from keynotes and panellists, including accompanying slides*
*Subject to approval

Delegate Pack

Information from the day, including delegate list, biographies and agenda


Transcript of questions and comments posed to speakers from attending delegates


Supplementary articles from speakers
and delegates