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ICE briefing paper: what should the ‘day 1’ priorities be for a new UK Parliament?

14 March 2024

The ICE has launched this Next Steps policy programme to identify what the ‘day 1’ infrastructure priorities should be for the next UK Parliament

It aims to bring clarity and urgency to the next government and support policy-makers to accelerate the UK’s progress towards net zero.

With an election due this year, the next UK Parliament will be critical for the country’s ambition to reach net zero by 2050 and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

To stay on track, the government has committed to reduce emissions by at least 68% by 2030 from 1990 levels.

The green transition is also huge opportunity to transform the UK’s physical environment in a way that improves the daily lives of the public.

Many of the wider economic, social and environmental benefits are achievable in the near future – not just by 2050.

With two-thirds of UK emissions coming from economic infrastructure, it’s both the key to net zero and the bedrock of society.

Previous governments have used ‘day 1’ of a new parliamentary term to make bold decisions with long-standing impact.

The ‘day 1’ priorities proposed by the ICE for the next UK Parliament are:

  • Deliver a public engagement strategy emphasising the benefits of the net zero transition;
  • Establish an urban Tram Delivery System;
  • Incentivise increased public transport usage and active travel using fare and regulatory reform;
  • Accelerate freight decarbonisation through targeted rail electrification;
  • Introduce half-hour metering and charging for domestic energy;
  • Ensure sufficient funding to reduce energy demand in social housing; and
  • Accelerate sustainable construction practices.

These measures would be in addition to the vital infrastructure upgrades the UK urgently needs.

They target some of the highest emitting sectors in the economy.

They would be affordable, deliverable and enable the next government to demonstrate positive impact on people’s lives by 2030.

We want to hear from you

Through its Next Steps programmes, the ICE convenes global public debates to discuss what needs to happen next on key policy issues affecting civil engineering and society.

This briefing paper provides an initial starting point for discussion.

An online panel debate has also explored whether the ICE’s ‘day 1’ priorities are the right ones and what else might be needed.

Watch the event recording

The ICE wants to hear views from across the sector on what the ‘day 1’ infrastructure priorities should be for the next UK Parliament.

Please contact [email protected] to share your views.

ICE Briefing Paper: net zero infrastructure – what should the ‘day 1’ priorities be for a new UK Parliament?

Content type: Policy

Last updated: 14/03/2024

Author: ICE policy team

  • David McNaught, policy manager at ICE