During its State of the Nation workshop on 29 October, ICE NI brought 30 expert delegates together to identify the five primary issues in infrastructure. The final five points, which ranged from political leadership to funding to strategy, will inform and shape central ICE’s 2016 Manifesto.
The 30 stakeholders present came from the five key sectors of water, flooding, waste, energy and transport. The workshop’s discussions, chaired by ICE Policy Managers Gavin Miller and Ben Goodwin, centred on the theme of devolution.
Because Northern Ireland has had a devolved government since 1998, it is in a unique position relative to the rest of the UK. The Northern Ireland experts present were able to offer insight gleaned from devolution in actual practice, and spoke enthusiastically about its pros and cons.
In four inter-sector groups, delegates generated 10 key issues relating to devolution and infrastructure in Northern Ireland, creating 40 topics in total. From there, each person created a top 10 list of priorities, which were collated and revealed. Lastly, each group had to reach a consensus on their top five chosen issues:
- Certainty of funding for infrastructure
- Strategic leadership (political)
- Need for long-term vision for infrastructure
- Evidence to counter NIMBYism (Not in My Backyard-ism)
- Sustainable use of resources
“The process of reaching consensus within such diverse, inter-sector groups was a very productive and enlightening exercise,” said Richard Kirk, Regional Director of ICE NI. “Much of the discussion revolved around the need for direct investment, decisiveness and delivery on the part of the government.
“We look forward to seeing the outcomes from other ICE regions’ State of the Nation workshops, and hope that our collective voice will inspire action among officials and policy-makers.”