Ecobuild is the UK's largest event for the built environment and tying in with the show's theme of Regeneration, ICE hosted a seminar arena to discuss themes including climate change, smart cities, devolution, transport and digital.
The three day event, formally opened by Tim Broyd, ICE President, saw ICE's stand packed with guests who had come to hear outlooks from leading client organisations and to engage in debate with discussion panels. Amongst the keynote speakers were Tobi Babalola from UK Power Networks, Jean Spencer from Anglian Water and Doug Waters of Gatwick Airport.
The event kicked off on day one with an overview of the National Needs Assessment provided by ICE Head of Policy Andrew Wescott. The ICE-led report provides a vision of the UK's infrastructure needs to the year 2050, and the steps needed to deliver efficient, affordable, sustainable solutions that will meet those needs.
Supporting ICE's current knowledge programme on Energy, Resilience & Climate Change, day one also featured presentations on innovation in energy storage and technology, a debate on the UK's optimum future energy mix, and strategies for long-term water resources planning. The discussions will be further explored at the two day Energy and Water event in May.
Day two focused on devolution and transport. The opening session examined how devolution of infrastructure powers can impact positively on local, regional and national infrastructure networks, picking up on ICE's 2016 State of the Nation: Devolution report recommendations.
The sessions also took a forward look at the future of UK's transport infrastructure, including development of intelligent mobility systems, city-level urban transport solutions, and options for airport growth.
Day three's sessions explored the digital future of the built environment – the growth of smart cities and the technology that will revolutionise the way we plan, deliver, operate and maintain our infrastructure sectors.
The Future Cities Catapult's 'The Future of Planning' programme presented the latest innovative approaches to planning and developing urban environments. ICE also presented early findings from its forthcoming 'State of the Nation: Digital' report, to be launched on 22 March, which sets out recommendations to government and industry. The conference concluded with a look to the future of infrastructure including BIM technology, cyber security, virtual reality, drones and sensors.
There was some light relief in the form of two humanoid robots provided by Softbank Robotics. NAO and Pepper were introduced by students from the London Design and Engineering University Technical College (LDEUTC). The students recently took part in an ICE skiing trip where they 'taught' the robots to ski.
Ahead of the event, Nathan Baker, Director, Engineering Knowledge at ICE said: 'At Ecobuild 2017, we will be leading a critical discussion on the UK's infrastructure requirements and challenges over the next 30 years, based on our National Needs Assessment report, so it's fitting to introduce some members of the next generation of engineering talent.
'Through the ICE ski trips, we have sought to introduce young people to engineering in a practical and enjoyable way, encourage the take-up of science, technology and maths subjects, and promote engineering as a career. We congratulate the LDEUTC students on their achievements on the trip and look forward to continuing to support them and other young engineers in the future.'
You can follow all of ICE's activity at Ecobuild 2017 on our Twitter account @ICE_Engineers