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Institutions seek future investment timetable

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THE ICE has teamed up with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) to call for joined-up thinking in government planning of infrastructure.

Presidents of the three institutions signed a letter to Chancellor Gordon Brown urging him to press ahead with an Independent Planning Commission to control the planning process for infrastructure projects of national signicance, as proposed by government adviser Kate Barker in her review of land use planning (NCE 7 December 2006).

In addition, the letter urges Brown to create a National Infrastructure Investment Framework, which would 'indicate where and over what period of time government expects to see major infrastructure delivered'.

The letter comes ahead of the planning white paper, expected later this month, which will review and propose reforms to the UK planning process.

'At the moment we don't have a long-term investment programme, and there is no coordination between government departments on when they come to market, ' said ICE policy manager Andrew Crudington, who helped draft the letter. 'The result is spikes and slumps in construction demand. It doesn't help industry plan for the skills it will need and encourages ination.' RTPI policy and project developer Will French said that while Barker recommended that each government department produce a statement of national need for priority projects, it was important to see how these would together within a national picture and with government targets on issues such as climate change.

'All the projects need to be mapped out, ' said French. 'For example, there are a number of port developments active and some waiting to be approved, and a lot of these are in the south east. 'This will raise important questions about the capacity of the road and rail network.'

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