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State of the Nation

State of the Nation is the ICE’s flagship report on the current state of UK infrastructure. 

State of the Nation has been one of the ICE’s flagship reports since 2002. Based on extensive research and member engagement, it gives an assessment of the state of the industry. The report aims to stimulate debate and highlight actions that the ICE believes its members could take to improve UK infrastructure.  

The State of the Nation reports are compiled with the help of expert input drawn internally from the ICE’s membership and externally from professionals working across the infrastructure sector. Past reports have focused on topics such as: 

  • Productivity
  • Climate change
  • Net-zero targets
  • Connecting infrastructure with housing
  • Infrastructure investment

State of the Nation: Infrastructure in 2024

Civil engineers have a vital role to play in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and can directly address some of the biggest challenges facing the water, energy and transport sectors, such as those set out by the UK National Infrastructure Commission in its Second National Infrastructure Assessment.

State of the Nation 2024 harnesses the expertise of the ICE’s global membership to present a clear view of how the profession can support delivery of the SDGs – specifically, by providing affordable and resilient transport, water and low-carbon energy solutions in the face of the climate crisis.

State of the Nation: Infrastructure in 2024

Content type: Final report

Last updated: January 2024

Authors: ICE knowledge team

Addressing the SDG challenges

Professor Priti Parikh, director of UCL’s Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction and an ICE trustee, discusses the importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the vital role of civil engineers in achieving them.

Previous State of the Nation reports

Below are resources and information for the most recent State of the Nation reports.

The ICE believes that how infrastructure is delivered throughout its lifecycle will improve the sector’s productivity.

State of the Nation 2022: Improving infrastructure productivity

Content type: Final report

Last updated: October 2022

Authors: ICE knowledge team

2021’s ICE State of the Nation report called on civil engineers to own their responsibility to reduce infrastructure’s carbon footprint and use their influence to bring about real change.

Shaping Zero

Shaping Zero featured a cast of famous faces arguing passionately for the urgent need to act on climate change. Experts interviewed included world-renowned explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change Lord Deben, former UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd, former ICE President Sir John Armitt, the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti and the Mayor of Stockholm Anna König Jerimyr, Eden Project Founder Sir Tim Smit and several industry experts.

All the experts featured agreed that climate change is the most urgent issue that civil engineers need to tackle and that the wider public needs civil engineers to make that significant difference in the years ahead.

In a first for ICE, Rachels address was delivered virtually with over 2,000 people joining live across the world. It broke all records for the largest group of ICE members and supporters ever assembled at one time in ICE’s 202-year history. To date, the recorded address has been viewed by tens of thousands of people - and the numbers continue to climb.

Net-zero carbon is a primary focus for the ICE for the year ahead, especially given the run-up to COP26, and we will be releasing a series of short films over the coming year to feature projects and areas of best practice in the UK and internationally that can help us towards net-zero.


VIDEO: Shaping Zero - The film

State of the Nation 2022: Six ways for civil engineers to act on climate change

Content type: Final report

Last updated: October 2021

Authors: ICE knowledge team

2020’s ICE State of the Nation report focused on needed policy changes and the role of the UK’s infrastructure sector in achieving the net-zero target.

State of the Nation 2020: infrastructure and the 2050 net zero target: final report

Content type: Final report

Last updated: July 2020

Authors: ICE knowledge team

2019’s ICE State of the Nation report called for a reform of the way infrastructure and housing are delivered, ensuring a more strategic and aligned approach, is necessary if the government is to deliver on its housebuilding programme.

State of the Nation 2019: connecting infrastructure with housing

Content type: Final report

Last updated: September 2019

Authors: ICE knowledge team

2018’s ICE State of the Nation report explored opportunities to improve the flow of investment and examines funding mechanisms to ensure that affordable infrastructure is viable long into the future.

State of the Nation 2018: infrastructure investment

Content type: Final report

Last updated: October 2018

Authors: ICE knowledge team

Contact us

To find out more about the ICE’s State of the Nation report, please get in touch