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Covid-19 and the UK’s sustainability challenges – lessons for the new normal

The purpose of this insights paper is to examine the potential impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s entrenched social, economic, and environmental challenges.

Our previous Insight papers explored the short-term impact on demand from Covid-19 and what this might mean in a post-lockdown world. We have also explored the role infrastructure can play as an economic stimulus, learning lessons from other crises. This paper looks ahead to the lessons we can take from the pandemic as we plan for recovery and beyond.

This paper supports the call for evidence that ICE is running on behalf of the Infrastructure Client Group (and by extension the Construction Leadership Council) to identify how infrastructure delivery should be reinvented in the UK following Covid-19. Further details of this work are included at the end of this paper.

The paper provides insights on the following:

  • Sustainable development in a UK context
  • The link between infrastructure and sustainable development
  • Lessons from Covid-19 for future sustainable development

The questions contained within the call for evidence are as follows:

  • Question 1: What other factors, or combination of factors, will determine attitudes to public life as we transition to a new normal?
  • Question 2: What other systemic changes, driven by lessons learned during the lockdown period, can we expect to be important as part of the new normal?
  • Question 3: Are our assumptions of the new priorities for infrastructure correct?
  • Question 4: What other changes to infrastructure provision will be needed and what assumptions sit behind that need?
  • Question 5: Have we made the correct assumptions on the changes in delivery that will be required, to deliver infrastructure as part of the new normal?
  • Question 6: What are the intermediate steps required to move us towards these new approaches to delivery?
  • Question 7: What other fundamental shifts are required to deliver concrete and long-lasting change in how we operationalise to deliver infrastructure to achieve societal requirements?

Download this report