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Press release

New PM warned infrastructure must be priority as public believe lack of planning will cause future problems

22 July 2019

A large majority of the British public perceive the government as failing to plan for future infrastructure needs, which they believe will cause problems in the future, new survey data shows.

This concerning finding should serve as a strong warning to the new Prime Minister, says the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), which is urging whoever is appointed on Tuesday to make infrastructure planning a key government priority.

The online poll of British adults found 72 per cent agreed that the UK government is not planning for future infrastructure needs, which will lead to problems in the future.

The same poll found that 73 per cent of British adults agreed that politicians are not focusing on big domestic issues, such as future infrastructure requirements and housing.

ICE is calling on the new Prime Minister to demonstrate the government’s commitment to infrastructure delivery by ensuring a National Infrastructure Strategy (NIS) is published in the autumn. This would allow for a long-term strategic approach that enables infrastructure to deliver the best possible outcomes to the economy and society more widely.

Nick Baveystock, ICE Director General, said:

"The government has a rare and important opportunity to produce the first strategy of this kind and ensure that future infrastructure delivery meets the needs of our society.

"The UK needs a national strategy that takes a holistic, evidence-based approach to planning and delivering infrastructure to ensure we deliver the best outcomes. Whoever the new PM is must heed the warning from the public and make creating a National Infrastructure Strategy a top priority."

ICE has also today published a paper which outlines what government should include in the NIS. Drawing on the large body of work done by the Institution over the last three years, this paper sets out a range of recommendations that it urges government to adopt as part of its NIS.

These include adopting, in full, the recommendations made by the National Infrastructure Commission in its National Infrastructure Assessment, and demonstrating, in detail, how these will be delivered; and setting out support for new approaches to funding and financing infrastructure, which include a UK investment bank to replace the loss of access to the European Investment Bank as a consequence of Brexit, and implementing a pay-as-you-go model of funding for England’s strategic road network.

A full list of recommendations, and the paper What should be in the National Infrastructure Strategy, are available to download.

Notes to Editors

Download the report

National Infrastructure Strategy

The government are due to publish their first ever National Infrastructure Strategy (NIS) later this year, in the Autumn Budget. This comes in response to a comprehensive strategy published by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) last year.

YouGov poll

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2089 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15 - 16 July 2019. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Full questions and responses:

For the following questions, by 'infrastructure', we mean basic physical and organisational structures and facilities (e.g. buildings, roads, power supplies etc.). In general, to what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?

The UK government is not planning for future infrastructure needs, which will lead to problems in the future:

  • Strongly Agree: 37%
  • Tend to agree: 35%
  • Neither agree nor disagree: 12%
  • Tend to disagree: 5%
  • Strongly disagree: 1%
  • Don’t know: 9%

Politicians aren't focussing on big domestic challenges (e.g. future infrastructure requirements, housing etc.):

  • Strongly Agree: 38%
  • Tend to agree: 35%
  • Neither agree nor disagree:12%
  • Tend to disagree: 4%
  • Strongly disagree: 1%
  • Don’t know: 9%
  • Emma Beer, media relations manager at ICE