Eighty five per cent of the British public supports investment in infrastructure, and 85% wants to see world-leading improvements to existing infrastructure, according to a survey published last week.
But only 6% of people think there is a “very well co-ordinated” national or local plan, according to a survey published last week at ICE.
The “Independent survey of attitudes to infrastructure in Great Britain 2015”– published by Copper Consultancy and Icaro in partnership with Peter Brett Associates – asked 2,000 people for their views on infrastructure and undertook 500 interviews.
The results also showed that many people feel infrastructure projects happen “to them”, not “for them” and they do not see any local or national co-ordination.
When asked what would increase confidence in the infrastructure sector, 41% of the public said community engagement, 30% said consultation, 25% cited leadership from politicians and 24% said they wanted to hear more from technical experts.
The report was launched at ICE’s HQ at an event attended by ICE President Sir John Armitt, who in his Presidential Address last month said the public’s fears and concerns about infrastructure had to be addressed if important projects were to progress.
Armitt is also one of the Commissioners on the newly created National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).
It aims to open up the infrastructure debate to all, including the public, and set out a long term strategy based on independent evidence on the UK’s needs.
“Public interest in infrastructure is as much driven by fear of disrupted lives as it is by a promise of greater convenience, speed or improved quality of life,” said Armitt. “The challenge for us all – the ICE, government and the NIC alike – is to open up the debate and address these fears.
“Our ability to explain – in plain language – what we are trying to achieve and why, to be prepared to consider alternative solutions and to put ourselves in the public’s shoes is absolutely vital if we are to gain sufficient political and public support, without which important projects simply cannot proceed.”
NIC chair Lord Adonis added: “This report is timely and vital. For too long the British people have been forced to put up with chaos, congestion and costs, thanks to successive governments’ failure to build the long term infrastructure this country needs.
“So as we establish the independent National Infrastructure Commission, it is clear we have to utterly transform the way we plan and deliver major projects in this country.
“This survey shows that the public want proper investment and planning behind world class developments. But while the support is there for real improvement, people rightly demand proper engagement and genuine consultation.
“It is now up to the industry as a whole to take these findings forward and build the broad coalition of support we need to secure the projects of the future.”