ICE launches consultation on infrastructure planning

ICE asks industry whether the UK’s infrastructure planning system is fit for challenges ahead.

The Institution of Civil Engineers is asking the industry for its thoughts on whether the nation’s infrastructure planning system is fit for the challenges ahead

Launching its new discussion paper today (12/4/21), ICE says its consultation aims to resolve whether the UK’s model of planning, prioritising and designing infrastructure – as led by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) – is as effective as possible.

Following publication of the first National Infrastructure Strategy late last year, ICE says the time is right to review the current components of the process and consider what, if any, improvements could be made to best support the delivery of stable long-term decisions on infrastructure priorities.

The consultation asks for thoughts on what the impact of the delay in responding to the National Infrastructure Assessment, published in 2018, was and how it might be avoided in future.

It also asks if broadening the NIC’s scope from economic infrastructure, to include social infrastructure such as housing and green infrastructure, would help deliver better strategic planning outcomes; and what is tangibly different to processes, behaviours and practices within infrastructure decision-making than in 2015 – and how might this impact the next round of planning.

Recognising that an effective infrastructure planning system delivers better outcomes at a lower cost for the public, ICE is looking for feedback from those in the sector. The consultation will feed into a final policy report, which will offer thoughts to government and decision-makers ahead of the next round of planning later this year.

Paul Sheffield, ICE fellow and past-president, said: “We all know the significant challenges we face in coming decades, to sustainably implement the complex infrastructure changes that are required to meet population growth, demographic shifts, imbalances in economic prosperity across the nation and, of course, decarbonising the economy.

“Policymakers need to make decisions in a timely and effective way and these decisions must be founded on the best available evidence. Taking time to review whether our infrastructure planning systems are working is important – and I encourage all those interested in delivering a sustainable UK to engage with us and share their thoughts.”

The consultation is open to all civil engineers, infrastructure system experts, and those who share ICE’s aim of seeing the infrastructure system's role being maximised to deliver a more sustainable UK.

Interested parties can view the discussion paper and consultation on ICE’s website and share their thoughts online.

The consultation is open until midnight on 3 May 2021.

If you would like to contact Rob O’Connor about this, or any other story, please email