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ICE briefs cross-party politicians on why we need strategic transport planning in England

27 September 2023

The ICE has been speaking to UK parliamentarians and opposition transport spokespeople about England’s need for a national transport strategy.

ICE briefs cross-party politicians on why we need strategic transport planning in England
Briefings included Iain Stewart MP, chair of the Transport Select Committee. Image credit: UK Parliament (licensed under CC BY 3.0.)

The ICE’s recent policy paper on a national transport strategy for England has been a major focus for the policy and external affairs team in recent months.

Since its publication, the ICE has held briefings with UK MPs and peers, ministerial and shadow ministerial teams, committee clerks, and political staffers.

These briefings have included Iain Stewart MP, chair of the influential Transport Select Committee, who also joined a Presidential Roundtable on the topic.

What did we say?

England is the UK’s largest nation. But unlike Scotland and Wales, it has no transport strategy.

The ICE briefings emphasised the value of a national transport strategy, drawing on examples of transport infrastructure decisions that could’ve delivered better outcomes for the public.

England’s fragmented system of responsibilities makes it difficult to link transport planning and investment to wider social benefits.

A national transport strategy would provide a clear vision and principles for sustainable road and rail development.

We've also been using these meetings to better understand the infrastructure policy questions political parties are grappling with as the UK approaches its next general election.


Briefings have been taking place since July, shortly after the policy paper launch, and are ongoing.

We'll also be meeting with key stakeholders at the party conferences in September and October.

Why does this matter?

One of the ICE’s functions is to provide independent policy expertise to parliamentarians from all parties.

Briefings such as these equip decision-makers with informed, expert-led views on infrastructure. They help them understand the challenges and opportunities for the UK’s infrastructure systems and influence policymaking at all levels.

While the UK’s transport system makes a significant contribution to economic and social prosperity, it’s also the country’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

A strategic approach to transport infrastructure will be critical to meet the UK’s net zero ambitions and economic and social goals.

The ICE’s national transport strategy paper makes a clear case for an England-wide and UK-wide strategy to prioritise projects.

Our work in this area has also identified further questions about how to develop a strategy, particularly around governance, powers, responsibilities, and funding reform in the context of further devolution.

  • Chris Richards, director of policy at Institution of Civil Engineers