State of the Nation

UK infrastructure

State of the Nation is ICE's flagship policy report.

It assesses the policy challenges for the UK's infrastructure networks and recommends actions needed to deliver improvements.

State of the Nation: Devolution 2016


ICE supports the goals of the Government’s devolution agenda – driving local growth and rebalancing the economy.

For infrastructure, devolution can lead to:

  • Improved understanding of local needs
  • A better scale to deliver integration of services
  • Quality of life and environmental sustainability

State of the Nation: Devolution sets out a number of steps that ICE believes are necessary to ensure the devolution revolution impacts positively on our local, regional and national infrastructure networks, focussing on the themes of enabling devolution, infrastructure delivery and effective outcomes.

Key findings

Enabling devolution

Accountability and leadership are essential but models to achieve it should not be imposed:

  • Central government should provide advice on the devolution submission process in England to ensure effective outcomes
  • Authorities seeking a devolution deal should demonstrate a clear model for leadership and accountability
  • Understanding the infrastructure needed to help shape devolution’s new economic geographies. Regional strategies should be developed to identify infrastructure need, ensuring the devolution of infrastructure policy in England is most effective
  • Appropriate approaches to identify infrastructure need should be developed in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and London

Devolution delivery

Skills are critical to delivering infrastructure-driven growth:

  • Regional infrastructure pipelines should be developed to identify upcoming projects and provide foresight on skills requirements
  • Devolution settlements should ensure combined authorities provide a joined-up approach to skills needed to deliver future infrastructure

New powers should be matched by greater control over funding and financing:

  • Devolution settlements should include access to flexible but prudential approaches to attracting investment for infrastructure

A systems approach to managing the linkages between infrastructure sectors is essential:

  • Future devolution agreements should include funding provision for digital infrastructure to enable a collaborative approach to systems management that benefits service users
  • Systems approaches should be central to regional infrastructure strategies to ensure infrastructure networks are integrated and resilient

Effective outcomes

The overall aim of devolution should be improved quality of life and sustainability:

  • Devolution agreements should prioritise improving quality of life and the environment alongside driving economic growth

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Hear from our guest speakers at the launch of SoN 2016


State of the Nation Scotland: Infrastructure 2015

State of the Nation Scotland: Infrastructure 2015
The Queensferry Crossing under construction

State of the Nation Scotland: Infrastructure 2015, focuses on the performance, resilience, capacity and condition of Scotland’s infrastructure networks. It also analyses the economic, social and environmental benefits of infrastructure.

Through the report ICE Scotland seeks to improve the planning, delivery, operation and regulation of Scotland’s infrastructure. Scotland’s approach to delivering and maintaining infrastructure requires attention.

  • Extreme climactic conditions and the demands of a growing population are placing pressure on our networks.
  • Continuing public budget pressures demand consideration of long-term planning and funding structures.
  • Skills shortages are increasing inefficiencies and costs across the board

We will need to identify innovative new ways to deliver and operate infrastructure to allow Scotland to compete in the global economy.

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State of the Nation: archive

The State of the Nation report is compiled each year by a panel of experts from across ICE's membership. Its aim is to stimulate debate and to highlight the actions that needed to improve the state of the nation´s infrastructure.

Here you can access details of our past reports dating back to 2008.