Institution of Civil Engineers says government needs coherent plan including high-speed rail links

The Institution of Civil Engineers has called for a raft of measures to boost public transport including extra high-speed rail links on the east and west coasts.

Rail lines

In its annual State of the Nation Report, the body criticised the government for failing to create a coherent investment plan for transport, which it said was vital for supporting the economy and tackling climate change.

Key recommendations include beefing up the UK’s commercial ports, ring-fencing part of transport revenue for public transport improvements and easing the rail system with extra coastal links – also a Conservative Party policy.

Urban authorities should be given greater powers, similar to those held by Transport for London, to speed up the planning process, it adds.

ICE president David Orr said the failure to create a long-term strategy could threaten transport projects such as Crossrail and the Thameslink upgrade as large-scale projects could become “unfit for purpose and unsuited for the future needs of the nation.”

Housing programmes, eco-towns and wider economic growth would also be affected by a failure to take action, he said.

The ICE is urging the government to follow a 10 step plan. The objectives include:

  • a 30-year national transport strategy
  • integrated transport authorities for urban areas
  • faster infrastructure delivery
  • enhanced public transport capacity
  • increased rail freight and shipping capacity
  • ringfenced funding from transport revenues.