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Covid-19 and the 'New Normal' for Infrastructure Systems

12 August 2020

The ICG and ICE are looking into the impacts of Covid-19 on infrastructure and what role the sector is likely to have in helping society recover from the pandemic. Stay tuned to this page for rolling updates and key takeaways from the project.

Covid-19 and the 'New Normal' for Infrastructure Systems
impacts of Covid-19 on infrastructure

What will the ‘new normal’ be for society in the aftermath of Covid-19 and what role will infrastructure play in that landscape as well as its long-term recovery?

Those are two of the primary questions ICE, on behalf of the Infrastructure Client Group, are seeking to answer over the coming weeks as part of its latest research project.

Covid-19 and the New Normal for Infrastructure Systems will provide a crucial information resource for government and industry stakeholders during a time when they may be unable to do so as they are rightly focused on reducing the spread of Covid-19 and mitigating the impact of measures such as social distancing.

Following a consultative Green Paper stage, a White Paper will be produced, which will make a series of recommendations for future requirements and delivery processes, based on expertise fed in through the consultation process.

Latest News

Driving the reinvention of infrastructure delivery, White Paper published– 13 August

A long-term green strategy is what’s needed for an infrastructure-led recovery from Covid-19 – and it must start with investment in fibre, 5G, cycling and walking.

That is one of the conclusions of the White Paper, published today. Following the comprehensive consultation, ICE and the ICG can now publish Covid-19 and the new normal for infrastructure systems – next steps. The paper recommends a series of steps to maximise the value of infrastructure investment and ensure challenges such as de-carbonisation, regional inequalities and economy-wide productivity are tackled.

Read a fuller description of the paper over on the Infrastructure blog or download the paper

Consultation responses to feed into final paper – 23 June

The consultation process for our Covid-19 Green Paper has now closed.

Thank you to all who contributed. We received a high number of responses to the written call for evidence, from a range of members and stakeholders across the UK.

We will now begin to analyse the evidence and distil the key findings. This process will inform the upcoming White Paper, which will make a series of recommendations for future requirements and delivery processes.

The White Paper will be published and fed back to the Construction Leadership Council in late July.

What could the pandemic mean for sustainability challenges – Insight paper published – 4 June

The final in ICE’s Covid-19 insights paper series explores the potential impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s entrenched social, economic, and environmental challenges.

Covid-19 and the UK’s sustainability challenges – lessons for the new normal provides insights on sustainable development in a UK context, the link between infrastructure and sustainable development and lessons from Covid-19 for future sustainable development.

Read more about the paper over on the Infrastructure blog.

The paper supports the call for evidence that the ICE is running on behalf of the Infrastructure Client Group in order to identify how infrastructure delivery should be reinvented in the UK following Covid-19. Submissions can be made until 14 June.

Restart, Reset and Reinvent: Construction Leadership Council lay out strategy – 2/3 June

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has published a three-stage plan to rebuild the construction industry and help steer the economy back into recovery. Over the next two years, the plan will be carried out across three phases of Restart, Reset and Reinvent.

The plan includes proposals on maximising employment, ensuring a pipeline of future work, boosting productivity, and industry transformation through technology and digitalisation.

As part of the Restart phase, a working group on infrastructure, led by the Infrastructure Client Group (ICG) and involving ICE, will soon be established to develop proposals for a future infrastructure strategy. In particular, it will look at the adaption of infrastructure post-Covid-19, how to meet net zero targets by 2050, industry modernisation and development of the National Digital Twin.

ICE and the ICG’s Green Paper, which discusses the early lessons that infrastructure can learn from the current crisis, will feed into the Reinvent phase for infrastructure delivery.

Submissions to the Green Paper consultation are open until 14 June.

Laying the foundations for the new normal: ICE Insights paper published - 29 May

The second in ICE’s Covid-19 insights paper series examines the role infrastructure can play post-crisis to minimise the socio-economic impact of the pandemic and help facilitate an effective economic recovery.

Infrastructure as a stimulus – laying the foundations for the new normal provides insights into infrastructure investment priorities pre-crisis, the role of infrastructure spending during an economic slowdown, and learning from responses to other crises.

Read more about the paper over on the Infrastructure Blog.

The paper supports the call for evidence that the ICE is running on behalf of the Infrastructure Client Group in order to identify how infrastructure delivery should be reinvented in the UK following Covid-19. Submissions can be made until 14 June.

Insights Paper Reveals Public Attitudes Towards Infrastructure – 21 May

The first of three Covid-19 Insights Papers was launched today, highlighting changing public attitudes around infrastructure amid the pandemic and exploring what ramifications those changing views could have.

The Use of Infrastructure Systems – Insights into the New Normal features polling around topics including public transport and remote working, with the resulting questions raised about future infrastructure requirements and projects featured within the recently released Green Paper.

  • 44% of the British public are likely to avoid public transport when life returns to the ‘new normal’.
  • 48% would want social distancing measures to remain in place, were they to continue using public transport.
  • 61% of British adults expect employers to increase the frequency of remote working. (YouGov)

Get more information on the report via the latest infrastructure blog from Ben Goodwin, Lead Policy Manager. The consultative Green Paper remains open for responses and input until 14 June.

Green Paper Consultation Now Live - 15 May

The Green Paper consultation stage is now open, with Industry professionals encouraged to share their views on how Covid-19 could shape the new normal for infrastructure and society.

Within the consultation are a range of questions around the impact of the pandemic on the future of infrastructure delivery in the UK, with the first significant milestone of the research programme aimed at the Construction Leadership Council's Industry Recovery Plan.

Responses to this will help the ICG develop a roadmap, as part of the broader Industry Recovery Plan, on how infrastructure delivery should be reinvented in the UK and the role infrastructure clients will need to play in that reinvention.

The Green Paper is available to download here while contributions to the project can be made via [email protected]. ICE Director of Policy, Chris Richards, has also summarised the consultation phase in his latest Infrastructure Blog.

Introducing the Programme: Key Details - 04 May

Led by a steering group chaired by ICE President, Paul Sheffield, the project will amalgamate views and insights from across the membership, infrastructure professionals and policy experts as to how Covid-19 has already impacted society and infrastructure and what the implications of that will be if those impacts remain unaddressed over the coming months and years.

With various socio-economic issues previously raised in ICE’s National Needs Assessment of 2016, the research is also looking to demonstrate the critical role for infrastructure in building a more sustainable Britain in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, while providing government and industry decision-makers with a valuable knowledge resource for future planning.

"Everybody wants to know what the new normal looks like and with most of us now adept at video communication on a variety of platforms and attending virtual conferences and debates, that could act as a catalyst for a huge change in societal habits," said Sheffield.

"For instance, it could be a real benefit for those who are not comfortable with going into a traditional office place to be able to create the space for more home working whilst truly delivering great value to their business. Then, if everyone worked from home one day per week, that just might take 20% off the roads and rail links that we use for our commute - not to mention the 20% reduction in the desk space that we might need in the expensive offices that we occupy."

  • Matthew Rogerson, media relations executive at ICE