The ICE brought 70 politicians, engineers, built environment professionals and industry associations together at a Labour Party conference reception last week. They discussed the importance of engineering and construction in building a new low-carbon economy.
The event, hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure (APPGI) was organised by ICE and supported by the Construction Industry Council and ConstructionSkills. MP, APPGI chairman and honorary ICE Fellow Nick Raynsford spoke at the reception.
Delegates were also addressed by energy and climate change minister David Kidney.
“There is one group of people who can turn what the government wants into reality − that is the engineering and construction community,”
Geoff French, ICE
ICE vice president Geoff French opened the evening, stressing the major role that infrastructure, including energy generation and transport, has to play in delivering a low-carbon economy. “There is one group of people who can turn what the government wants into reality − that is the engineering and construction community,” he said.
French repeated the ICE’s calls for a secure source of long-term financing for infrastructure, via a national infrastructure investment bank, to support projects that will aid the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Kidney added his views. “The UK has a responsibility to meet carbon reduction targets,” he said. “This includes making new build homes zero carbon by 2016, building schools for the future against low-carbon criteria. And in the future every job needs to be a green job.”
He added: “Young people need to see the benefit of civil engineering as a career and see the difference it will make towards sustainability.”
Dawn of an era
Raynsford praised the ICE for its role in establishing the APPGI, and said: “We have seen the last boom of the carbon profligate era and our challenge now is to ensure That the recovery heralds the dawn of the low-carbon era.
“Government does need to take a lead, as it has been doing, by setting demanding targets. But it should not be forcing or compelling the industry, rather it should be motivating the industry and helping to set out a route map for achieving targets.
“Lord Mandelson’s commitment to review the construction industry will aid this and help in assessing the industry’s ability to deliver on the low-carbon agenda.”