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Is the UK’s infrastructure planning system good enough? Have your say

12 April 2021

The first round of the UK’s infrastructure planning process culminated in the publication of a National Infrastructure Strategy. Ahead of round 2, ICE is seeking views on what was learnt, and what, if anything needs change.

Is the UK’s infrastructure planning system good enough? Have your say

Should cost and affordability constrain infrastructure advice given to the government?

Should there be parliamentary involvement in the infrastructure planning process, to better build cross-party consensus?

These are the types of questions the Institution is seeking input on in a new consultation, launched today.

Have your say

The consultation aims to decide if the UK’s model of planning, prioritising and designing infrastructure – as led by the National infrastructure Commission (NIC) – is as effective as it could be.

Following publication of the first National Infrastructure Strategy late last year, the Institution says the time is right to review the current components of the process and consider what, if any, improvements could be made to best support the delivery of stable long-term decisions on infrastructure priorities.

Paul Sheffield, ICE Fellow and past-President, said: "We all know the significant challenges we face in coming decades, to sustainably implement the complex infrastructure changes that are required to meet population growth, demographic shifts, imbalances in economic prosperity across the nation and, of course, decarbonising the economy.

"Policymakers need to make decisions in a timely and effective way and these decisions must be founded on the best available evidence. Taking time to review whether our infrastructure planning systems are working is important – and I encourage all those interested in delivering a sustainable UK to engage with us and share their thoughts."

Recognising that an effective infrastructure planning system delivers better outcomes at a lower cost for the public, the Institution is looking for feedback from those in the sector. The consultation will feed into a final policy report, which will offer thoughts to government and decision-makers ahead of the next round of planning later this year.

The consultation asks for thoughts on what the impact of the delay in responding to the National Infrastructure Assessment, published in 2018, was, and how it might be avoided in future.

It also asks if broadening the NIC’s scope from economic infrastructure, to include social infra such as housing and green infrastructure, would help deliver better strategic planning outcomes; and what is tangibly different to processes, behaviours and practices within infrastructure decision-making than in 2015 – and how might this affect the next round of planning.

The consultation is open to all civil engineers, infrastructure system experts, and those who share ICE’s aim of seeing the infrastructure system's role being maximised to deliver a more sustainable UK.

Those who are interested can read the consultation here and share their thoughts online.

The consultation is open until midnight on 3 May 2021.

  • Emma Beer, media relations manager at ICE