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ICE’s Levelling Up Green Paper calls for targeted investment

02 March 2022

The institution is asking stakeholders with an interest in the role of infrastructure in reducing the economic imbalances in the UK to take part in a consultation.

ICE’s Levelling Up Green Paper calls for targeted investment
Bradford in Yorkshire is one of the places affected by the government's latest Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), which is meant to help with levelling up in the UK. Image credit: Electric Egg/Shutterstock

The ICE has published a green paper that asks for more targeted investments in infrastructure in the UK government's levelling up plans.

To support its call, the ICE is asking infrastructure professionals, civil engineers, and anyone else who has an interest in the role infrastructure plays in levelling up, to respond to a consultation that will close on 8 April 2022.

The responses, alongside further evidence gathering, will inform a policy paper with recommendations ahead of the government’s plans to enact legislation to achieve its levelling up ambitions.

“At this stage, with the green paper, we are hoping that our peers across the infrastructure sector and civil society groups [those with an interest in how infrastructure can support levelling up] will help us gather evidence,” said Chris Richards, director of policy at the ICE.

"We need to answer the questions of how we spend investment wisely and effectively for the best outcome, what role does infrastructure need to play to achieve levelling up goals and, perhaps most importantly, how will we know we have levelled up?"

What are the government’s priorities and how is infrastructure involved?

The government's levelling up white paper provided details of 12 missions across four broad areas:

  • Boosting productivity and living standards.
  • Spreading opportunities and improving public services.
  • Restoring a sense of community, local pride and belonging.
  • Empowering local leaders and communities.

“We know that economic infrastructure will play a huge role in enabling better economic and social opportunities through connectivity, job creation, access to services and more,” Richards said.

But the new green paper points out that without knowing how to effectively measure the success of these missions or how infrastructure interventions can aid the objectives, the investment directed towards levelling up could go to waste.

Missed opportunities?

The green paper also highlights the potential of missing the opportunity to align levelling up with other objectives, such as net zero greenhouse emissions and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

"There is significant work to be done to achieve the missions set by government, and we hope that this process will give the infrastructure industry a clear road forward on levelling up and the challenges ahead," said Richards.

The ICE Levelling Up Green Paper

  • Ana Bottle, digital content editor at ICE