Department for Infrastructure-Connecting People

Department for Infrastructure Northern Ireland – Connecting people, supporting opportunities and creating living places.


In July 2018 the Secretary of State for Transport in the United Kingdom the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP published the UK Governments “Road to Zero” Ultra Low Emission Vehicle strategy. The strategy provides one of the most comprehensive packages of support for the transition to zero emission vehicles in the world with nearly £1.5 billion of investment pledged for the sector.

One of the key messages from the strategy is that Government cannot deliver its ambitions to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles alone. At the heart of the strategy is the commitment to work in partnership with industry, businesses, academia, environmental groups, devolved administrations, local government, consumers and international partners.

The partnerships referred to by the Secretary of State could not be better demonstrated than those which have been put together in the GenComm project. Over the past 18 months I have been able to observe how the Hydrogen Technologies being developed across North West Europe can be brought to the market, driven by a spirit of co-operation and desire to make things happen by all of the partners involved. Clearly GenComm has demonstrated that funding alone from Government and the European Union does not deliver solutions, it is the shared commitment of the partners and the desire to make a difference that will continue to drive the project forward.

In Northern Ireland, the Department for Infrastructure has responsibility for driving change in the transport sector to secure infrastructure which will support technology neutral transport solutions reduce emissions and connect people and opportunities in a more sustainable way.


GenComm is helping to map out the solutions in these areas of responsibility. During visits to Galway, Stornaway and Rouen, the partners were able to clearly demonstrate how this work will help the Department and its officials to shape the policies of the future in the transport sector. Northern Ireland has a great history of innovation, from Dunlop’s invention of the pneumatic tyre to Sir James Martin’s invention of aircraft ejector seat, the development of the modern Tractor by Harry Ferguson, and portable defibrillator by Frank Partridge to the introduction of the penalty kick in association football by William McCrum of County Armagh.

Hopefully the platform for the development of new technologies, provided by these early innovators here in Northern Ireland can be built upon in this modern age with the forging of new international partnerships to develop targeted energy solutions for communities across North West Europe.

GenComm I am sure will meet that test and would have had the approval of Ferguson, Martin and company.


David Strain

Transport Projects Division

Department for Infrastructure, Northern Ireland

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