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National needs assessment for infrastructure advances

The core evidence gathering stage for the ICE-led National Needs Assessment (NNA) for infrastructure is now complete. 

 

The Institution had appealed for written evidence about the UK’s future needs and has held a series of engagement events and workshops across the UK over the past four months.

Over 400 organisations and individuals from across the ICE’s membership, industry, business, the environment, economic and academic communities have contributed evidence to the project. The aim is to establish an independent evidence base for the UK’s infrastructure needs between now and 2050 and to facilitate more strategic choices.  

Six hundred people from the wider built environment, legal, political and professional services, and members of the public, have also engaged and shared views via Twitter using #UKInfraNeeds.

The NNA is being chaired by ICE President Sir John Armitt and 11 high profile organisations are part of the NNA’s executive group – including business group the CBI, accountants KPMG, law firm Pinsent Masons, the University of Cambridge ,the University of Oxford, National Grid, business group London First, the Green Alliance, Transport for Greater Manchester, Thames Water, the Scottish Council for Development and Industry and former Highways Agency chief executive Graham Dalton.  

The group’s diverse networks were used to draw evidence from a broad base and widen the debate on future infrastructure needs.

Evidence gathered during the process is now being analysed. Academic research carried out by the Oxford University-led Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium will add to the evidence base, along with other economic and environmental data.

“The response has been huge, and has provided us with a wealth of evidence and expertise. I am delighted the NNA has been embraced in this way,” said Armitt, speaking at the final evidence gathering conference in London at the end of April. 

“I believe the collaborative nature of the project has played a part, creating real a sense of excitement. A group of very different organisations worked together – ultimately to benefit society, grow the economy and drive the shift to a low carbon future,” he added. 

“The approach feels fresh, like we have broken down the silo mentality for the common good. This has come across in all of the evidence gathering sessions.

“We have covered significant ground, and some themes have emerged – not least the interdependent and vulnerable nature of our infrastructure systems. The way the sectors interrelate is still largely misunderstood or unappreciated, and there are questions that keep coming up and need answering,” said Armitt. “I look forward to publishing our findings and conclusions in the autumn, and sharing our work with the National Infrastructure Commission.”

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