Skip to content

ICE's priorities for the next UK government

06 June 2024

The next UK Parliament is critical for the country’s progress towards its long-term strategic objectives.

Infrastructure is key to meeting those objectives, including reducing the UK’s carbon emissions, unlocking economic growth, adapting to climate change, and improving the lives of the public.

The next government will be responsible for meeting some important milestones and ensuring the UK stays on course to meet long term goals, like the 2050 net zero target.

Ahead of the UK general election, this paper examines the UK’s current infrastructure planning and delivery framework and the outcomes it must deliver over the next Parliament.

It sets out the ICE’s priorities for how the next government can strengthen that framework to achieve those outcomes at the required pace and scale.

Key messages

On infrastructure spending

Without increasing investment in 2025/26 and beyond to cover cost increases due to inflation, budgets for major infrastructure projects will effectively be cut, and it will be harder for the UK to achieve its wider strategic goals.

On infrastructure planning and prioritisation

Decisions about what infrastructure gets built should give more weight to the social, economic and environmental benefits projects will deliver over their lifetime.

They should also consider no-build and nature-based solutions.

While it’s important that public money is used wisely, people support investing in infrastructure when they can see how it will improve their lives.

On improving infrastructure delivery

Infrastructure delivery in the UK costs too much and takes too long. Many tools to deliver projects faster, cheaper and more sustainably already exist.

But they will only be effective if used across government and industry as standard. Sharing what works well across global partners will also help.

Key asks

On decarbonisation

The ICE recommends prioritising public engagement and behavioural change to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the risk of relying on unproven technologies to achieve net zero.

On climate adaptation and resilience

To improve infrastructure’s climate resilience, the Adaptation Reporting Power of the UK Climate Change Act should be made mandatory for all infrastructure owners and operators.

This would give the new government the information required to address the most pressing needs first.

On transport planning

The ICE recommends that the next government develops a national transport strategy for England to clarify long-term plans for transport investment.

On regional growth and connectivity

The next government should work with regional leaders to review rail development plans in the North and Midlands to determine how gaps left by the cancellation of the northern leg of HS2 will be filled.

On accountability

The role of the National Infrastructure Commission should be strengthened.

Making it a statutory body would:

  • improve strategic infrastructure planning and prioritisation;
  • give more certainty to investors and the supply chain; and
  • increase accountability for ensuring infrastructure delivers the outcomes the UK needs.

ICE’s priorities for the next UK government

Content type: Policy

Last updated: 06/06/2024

Author: ICE policy team

  • David McNaught, policy manager at ICE