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Next Steps Programme

Bringing together experts to discuss issues affecting how we live and work

Under the Next Steps Programme, the ICE will convene global public debates to discuss what needs to happen next on key policy issues affecting the civil engineering industry and society.

About the programme

The Next Steps programme will cover the following topics:

Delivering net zero is an essential part of the UK’s response to climate change.

To hit net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050, the Climate Change Committee believes that the UK needs to be investing an extra £50 billion a year.

However, the framework to deliver this investment is unclear.

In the current cost of living crisis, financing a fair transition that will relieve pressures on households becomes an urgent priority.

What are the challenges?

The net zero transition faces multiple challenges alongside financing and funding the infrastructure needed.

These include:

  • delivering the necessary infrastructure to tight timescales;
  • gathering and maintaining political support and commitment across the political spectrum; and
  • retraining and skilling a workforce to operate net zero technologies.

By starting with filling in the gap when it comes to financing and funding net zero ambitions, policymakers, businesses and local and national government will be better placed to address these additional challenges. 

Significant questions must be addressed as to who is responsible for paying for net zero, what data is available to dictate how it’s paid for, and how to define what's considered a net zero investment.

Public transport use plummeted due to the pandemic, with some countries and cities experiencing up to a 90% fall in use.

Globally, recovery has varied in response to restrictions being eased.

The initial trend post-vaccine has seen increased levels of hybrid working, resulting in lower overall public transport use compared to pre-pandemic levels, particularly at peak times.

This overall decrease has meant a loss in revenue for transport providers, which, together with increased operating costs related to the Covid-19 response, has led to huge budget shortfalls.

During this time, public transport has largely relied on emergency funding from governments.

This emergency funding is increasingly being re-evaluated in light of plans to ‘live with Covid-19’ and shifting government priorities.

The carbon problem

On top of this, car use has returned to pre-pandemic levels in many countries, increasing the risk of not meeting climate targets, while some services and capital projects have been scaled down or suspended as a result of budget shortfalls.

A sustainable future funding model for public transport must be implemented if national and international objectives are to be met.

ICE’s work on post-pandemic transport funding

ICE has previously undertaken work in this space, producing a discussion paper in 2021 on the topic.

This set out principles for what future public transport funding models should be based on.

It also provided potential options for policymakers, such as alternative revenue-raising schemes and holistic transport policies that address longstanding environmental challenges and social inequalities.

Related links

Want to have your say in the debate?

This is your chance to take part in a public debate or contribute a guest blog.