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In his latest blog ICE President, Paul Sheffield recounts the discussion as he gave evidence to the Treasury Select Committee last week regarding the Government’s long-term plans for infrastructure.
I was clear in my evidence that ong-term certainty of the infrastructure pipeline drives many positive behaviours and unlocks many benefits. This was a message that was clearly echoed by all of those giving evidence. I was able to remind the Committee of the substantial economic leverage that investment in infrastructure can bring about and that prioritisation of projects must also take in to consideration the socio-economic drivers that will clearly affect their levelling up priorities - and not just base them on pure financial return on investment.
Affordability of future infrastructure investments is important but not the be all and end all. Future projects should be empowered to support sustainable economic growth.
All of these ambitions can be achieved with a coherent evidence-based National Infrastructure Strategy, which we eagerly await.
While the here and now has been impacted by Covid-19, the long-term drivers remain the same. Decarbonisation remains a priority, addressing demographic shifts will help rebalance the economy tackling regional inequalities and of course the importance of digital connectivity in enabling all of this. These issues will not be driven asymmetrically and it will require both government and the sector to pull in the same direction at the same time. Clients can take the lead, but only if they are followed.
By working together with Government we can harness the ambition of the new construction playbook and project speed while avoiding unintended consequences. I urged the Government to recognise and act upon the key role they can play in setting targets for consultants and contractors alike to achieve in responding to tender processes that ensure we meet new green targets and modern methods of construction that will improve productivity.
I shared much of this with the select committee and hope that it helps to shape future policy.
Be sure to join incoming ICE President Rachel Skinner's inaugural address on 3 November where she will be discussing the importance of carbon emission reduction and the need for urgent actions. Book the event here.
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