Sir John Armitt, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission and ICE Past President, called on the engineering community to back the recommendations made by the National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA), during his speech yesterday.
The NIA, published in July 2018, made a wide range of recommendations about infrastructure to the UK government.
“I would urge all of you in this room to support us to make it happen, making the case clearly and regularly for our recommendations, including on supporting the rollout of electric vehicles, tackling waste and improving the energy efficiency of our homes,” he told the GEC delegates.
“That could be to the media, ministers or MPs from across the political spectrum.”
Infrastructure as an enabler
The recommendations included the rollout of a national charging network for electric vehicles.
Emphasising the crucial role of infrastructure as an enabler, he said: “The last thing we want is for the state of our infrastructure to slow down that progress and threaten the interest and excitement in these new vehicles.”
Sir John highlighted the recommendations for research and trials into heating alternatives for fossil fuels, such as hydrogen and heat pumps; flood resilience measures; and increased investment in new infrastructure to reduce the risk of drought.
He also said that the challenges for the UK were “not unique” and offered the NIA as a potential “blueprint” for action for other nations.
Engineers have a ‘duty’
Meanwhile, referring to the recent UN climate change report, Sir John reiterated “its starkest-ever warnings of what could happen if we don’t act now to protect our planet for the future”.
He said: “As engineers, we have a responsibility – a duty, in fact – to play our part, by helping to develop the technologies that will mitigate the impacts of climate change, and to design and deliver the infrastructure that will protect our communities from its worst effects.”
“I know that as a profession, you will stand ready to offer your support and expertise to organisations, whether in the public or private sectors, to find those innovative solutions to help reduce, and protect communities from, the impact of global climate change,” he added.
The Global Engineering Congress is taking place at ICE's London headquarters until 26 October.