Infrastructure body publishes ‘manifesto for infrastructure’

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has published a ‘manifesto for infrastructure’ containing ten policy recommendations it hopes the main political parties will adopt ahead of May’s general election.

ICE warns failing to make infrastructure a priority could result in “other competing nations taking our edge and the UK’s resilience diminishing”.

The ICE’s manifesto calls on the next government to establish a “long term vision for UK infrastructure and a framework that puts the vision above political fault lines”, partly by creating an independent infrastructure body to assess the UK’s infrastructure need, chiming with Building’s recommendation in our own Agenda 15 manifesto.

It also urges the next government to boost city regions and rebalance growth, to “future proof” infrastructure by embedding climate change resilience into decision making, and to boost training of engineers.

ICE director general Nick Baveystock said: “This is no time for the faint hearted - the next Government must establish a long-term vision for infrastructure and a framework that facilitates cross-party consensus.

“We need to build the UK’s resilience, rebalance growth, and secure a world class engineering workforce.

“There are also some tough decisions ahead - not least on the UK’s aviation policy and our future energy mix.

“But with concerted political commitment, challenges can become opportunities, and we can deliver the infrastructure we need for the 21st Century and beyond.”

ICE Manifesto’s 10 recommendations

  • Create an independent infrastructure body - ideally by restructuring existing Treasury body Infrastructure UK to reduce delay and uncertainty
  • Act swiftly and boldly on the Davies Commission recommendations, paving the way for delivery and avoiding further delay in resolving the UK’s aviation hub issues
  • Work with local authorities to clear the road maintenance backlog and commit to a planned, preventative maintenance regime - addressing defects on a more long-term ‘value for money’ basis
  • “Future proof” new infrastructure by embedding resilience - and the “domino effect” across networks when one system fails - into criteria used to make decisions on which projects go ahead
  • Implement Energy Market Reform fully and smoothly with changes kept to a minimum, to entrench cross-party support for electricity decarbonisation
  • Commit to a long-term maintenance investment programme for flood risk management
  • Accelerate the devolution of transport powers by creating city-region transport authorities responsible for roads and all public transport, supported by a national transport strategy for England
  • Commit to increasing the quality - not just the quantity - of apprenticeships so those on schemes achieve a qualification which sets them up for life, and the UK benefits from a pipeline of talent
  • Ensure Ofsted rigorously inspects schools’ careers guidance so the range of “STEM” paths available, including vocational and technician roles, are communicated to students.
  • Establish an Office for Resource Management in Government to entrench a “circular economy” ethos across all departments and promote resource management as a driver of growth