The UK’s Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has outlined its manifesto for infrastructure ahead of the 2015 general election, which will be held on 7 May. ICE has urged the next government to put infrastructure at the heart of economic plans in order to boost long-term economic growth and generate jobs. ICE notes that the construction industry provided 2.1 million jobs in 3Q14, and the sector contributed £92.4 billion (6.1%) to the UK’s economic output in 2013. The institution also calls on the next government to ensure that climate change resilience is embedded in all infrastructure decisions, as well as calling for greater commitment to equipping young people with the engineering skills required to deliver world-class infrastructure projects.
ICE’s ten key policy recommendations:
- Create an independent infrastructure body – ideally by restructuring existing Treasury body Infrastructure UK to reduce delay and uncertainty.
- Act swiftly and boldly on the Davies Commission recommendations, paving the way for delivery and avoiding further delay in resolving the UK’s aviation hub issues.
- Work with local authorities to clear the road maintenance backlog and commit to a planned, preventative maintenance regime – addressing defects on a more long-term ‘value for money’ basis.
- ‘Future proof’ new infrastructure by embedding resilience – and the ‘domino effect’ across networks when one system fails – into criteria used to make decisions on which projects go ahead.
- Implement Energy Market Reform fully and smoothly with changes kept to a minimum, to entrench cross-party support for electricity decarbonisation.
- Commit to a long-term maintenance investment programme for flood risk management.
- Accelerate the devolution of transport powers by creating city-region transport authorities responsible for roads and all public transport, supported by a national transport strategy for England.
- Commit to increasing the quality – not just the quantity – of apprenticeships so those on schemes achieve a qualification that sets them up for life, and the UK benefits from a pipeline of talent.
- Ensure Ofsted rigorously inspects schools’ careers guidance so the range of STEM paths available, including vocational and technician roles, are communicated to students.
- Establish an Office for Resource Management in government to entrench a ‘circular economy’ ethos across all departments and promote resource management as a driver of growth.
“This is no time for the faint hearted – the next government must establish a long-term vision for infrastructure and a framework that facilitates cross-party consensus,” said ICE Director General, Nick Baveystock. “We need to build the UK’s resilience, rebalance growth, and secure a world class engineering workforce. There are also some tough decisions ahead – not least on the UK’s aviation policy and our future energy mix. But with concerted political commitment, challenges can become opportunities, and we can deliver the infrastructure we need for the 21st century and beyond.”
Adapted from press release by Louise Fordham
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcement.com/europe-cis/11022015/ice-publishes-manifesto-for-infrastructure-314/