Last edited 07 May 2019

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The Institution of Civil Engineers Institute / association Website

What should be in the National Infrastructure Strategy?

Apggi-speakers.jpg
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure (APPGI): pictured (L-R) Dustin Benton, Andy Burnham, Vicky Ford, Sir John Armitt, Lucy Howard, and Mark Reynolds.

Contents

[edit] Introduction

At a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure (APPGI), parliamentarians and industry leaders set out wide-ranging views on what should be included in the government’s forthcoming National Infrastructure Strategy.

The meeting - hosted at The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) - was attended by a senior audience, including the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure Vicky Ford MP; Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt; Metro Mayor for Greater Manchester Andy Burnham; Policy Director at Green Alliance Dustin Benton; CEO of Mace Mark Reynolds; and Lucy Howard, Director at Turner and Townsend.

[edit] Political support needed

In view of the political paralysis that Brexit continues to inflict on the UK’s policymaking environment, there was a consensus that now, more than ever, is the right time for cross-party differences to be put to one side. Instead, a commitment to long-term decision-making that drives inclusive economic growth and supports thriving communities should prevail.

Given that infrastructure is the key enabler for the realisation of these outcomes, there is no better place to start than with politicians from all sides supporting the development of impartial and evidenced-based policymaking for the sector.

This was the very reason why the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) was appointed in the first place. Having now published its first National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA), there can be no excuse from this government or the next that there is not enough quality work to draw on to enable an effective approach to infrastructure policymaking to be taken.

Likewise, the ICE’s own National Needs Assessment (a pre-cursor to the NIC’s work) also provides expert insight into what the UK needs from its infrastructure up to 2050.

[edit] What should be in the National Infrastructure Strategy?

There are a range of things that ICE would like to see in the National Infrastructure Strategy (NIS) when it is published in the autumn alongside the outcomes of the government’s spending review.

A number of these were reflected in the APPGI discussion, including:

Overall, the NIS should take a cross-sectoral approach and one that is outcomes driven, rather than one that is overly focused on projects. Inclusive economic growth, environmental goals and quality of life are all integral in this respect.

[edit] Ensuring that the strategy is robust

There were also calls for the government’s strategy to address the recommendations set out by the NIA head-on, outlining clearly how each one has been adopted. In instances where alternative approaches are taken, there should be impartial research provided to support them.

The NIC has pledged to develop metrics to test the robustness of the NIS, in order to ensure its fitness for purpose. This is a welcome move that the infrastructure sector should support to ensure that NIS does not end up as a long list of government-pledged projects.

[edit] What next?

It is critical that all those with a stake in the built environment continue to make the case for the NIS to be a coherent and practical strategy that puts infrastructure policy on a long-term footing.

In this vein, ICE will be publishing its detailed views on what should be included in the final NIS during the course of the summer. We welcome input and in this respect the ICE can be contacted at [email protected].

[edit] About this article

This article was written by Ben Goodwin, ICE Lead Policy Manager. It was first published on the ICE website in May 2019 and can be accessed here.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

--The Institution of Civil Engineers