Richard Coackley uses inaugural address to ask for government to deliver on rhetoric

Incoming Institution of Civil Engineers president Richard Coackley has called for the government to “turn rhetoric into action” to support the delivery of a new generation of sustainable infrastructure.

Coackley, who takes up the one-year role of president this week, said in his inaugural address to the ICE last night that the future of the country depended particularly on securing “clean, affordable and reliable” sources of power.

Coackley said: “The scale of the task ahead mustn’t be underestimated - meeting our carbon emissions target will be the greatest peacetime mobilisation of society in our time.”

“The challenge to the profession is to nurture and retain the talent that we will need in coming years.

“The challenge to Government is to take action. Significant steps forward have been made – the publication of the first ever NIP being a crucial one, and equally important, the acknowledgement of infrastructure as a key strand in the Plan for Growth.

“However Government must now deliver on its promises, ensuring a successful move from ‘the rhetoric’ into action.”

Coackley quoted the words of the first National Infrastructure Plan, published in the spring this year, which said the government’s past approach to infrastructure had been “timid, uncoordinated, incremental and wasteful”.

He said UK civil engineers faced a three-fold challenge: to develop a strong, world-class skills base; to work with Government to achieve the right regulatory environment; and to meet carbon reduction goals that require a massive overhaul of our infrastructure networks.