Public response to local infrastructure decisions is positive but there are mixed views on which decisions should be devolved, according to a new survey.
The survey, carried out by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), shows the majority of people in England think devolution measures such as a new fund to support skills growth, more local control of flood management and the introduction of integrated ticketing systems would have a positive impact on their local area.
The ComRes survey of over 1,700 English adults – which marks the start of ICE’s State of the Nation: Devolution campaign that will investigate how UK infrastructure can get the most out of devolution – showed public attitudes to local decision making on infrastructure are largely positive. Only 26% think devolution will make local services less efficient and only 33% want it to slow down across England.
When asked how devolution measures would impact on their local area, 64% felt a new fund to boost skills growth would be positive. In addition, 61% said greater local control of flood management would have a positive impact.
Fifty two percent said devolution could help to boost local economies and 63% believe devolution plans resulting in a single travel ticket to be used on all transport would have a positive effect on their local area.
The survey results did, however, suggest the public were less positive about devolution plans being implemented without their views being sought, with 78% saying local people should vote to decide whether powers are devolved to their area.
When asked which infrastructure decisions should be controlled locally, bus franchising came out top with 76% wanting local control, compared to 14% who think central government should decide.
ICE member of the State of the Nation: Devolution steering group Jonathan Spruce said: “The Government’s ‘devolution revolution’ is speeding up and the commitment is positive – locating powers closer to those it affects carries the potential for greater focus, investment and better decision making.”
“However, to get the most out of devolution, we need a better understanding on how and where it can work most effectively. We also need a better feel of the needs, ambition and capacity of each area to establish frameworks and assume the greater responsibility.”
Further findings from the survey
- 46% said decisions on new renewable energy facilities should be made locally, with 42% wanting central control
- 41% said local government should make decisions on fracking, with the same proportion (41%) believing these decisions sit with central government
- 35% want local control over new train lines or stations, with 55% wanting decisions to be made centrally
- 23% said local government should decide on new power stations, with 66% wanting central control
- Only 19% of the public think decisions on new motorways should be made locally, with 71% saying central government should take the reins
- Only 26% think devolution will make local services less efficient
- 78% say local people should vote to decide whether powers are devolved to their area
- Bus franchising is at the top of the public wish list for local control
- 71% think decisions on new motorways should be made by central government.