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View from Wales | Leading the agenda

Keith Jones

We as civilengineers know our quality of life depends on infrastructure. There would be little economic activity without energy generation and distribution, water supply and disposal, transportation and waste management.

Wales, along with the devolved governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and London, is facing real challenges as we move towards the Elections in May, and the Institution has been providing independent expertise to all parties on the challenges facing infrastructure in the next assembly term and beyond. 

ICE Wales Cymru’s Manifesto for Infrastructure in Wales 2016: Prosperity, Growth and jobs sets out these challenges and three clear recommendations.

Wales must continue to invest in new and existing infrastructure assets and speed the transition to a resilient and low carbon economy. Wales must continue to invest to grow the next generation of engineers and upskill our current workforce so that we can deliver infrastructure that drives our economy and society. And the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan must be progressed to develop a pipeline of infrastructure projects with timelines developed, and supported by a Wales Infrastructure body.

In short, we are urging all parties and prospective Assembly Members to place infrastructure investment at the heart of their policies and to commit to infrastructure in Wales.

Wales needs a clear vision for infrastructure which looks forward 25 years, developed through engagement with governments, clients, investors, operators and delivery teams. We are at a cross roads – the next steps in the development of the Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan are crucial to the delivery of effective, resilient infrastructure, and our transition to a low carbon economy.

We must also continue to invest in the next generation of engineers – we cannot achieve infrastructure which drives our economy, society and innovation, without a skilled workforce to deliver it. We would like to see commitment to a skills strategy for Wales, and the expansion of successful apprenticeship initiatives.

Following on from the Welsh Assembly elections, we have a great opportunity, while infrastructure is a hot topic, to celebrate the very best infrastructure projects and their contribution to local communities and economies. Those completed in Wales during 2015 will be recognised at the ICE Wales Cymru Awards 2016 on 17 June in Cardiff, with ICE President Sir John Armitt and industry leaders in Wales. 

Six fantastic projects have been shortlisted for the George Gibby Award for projects over £3M, three for the Roy Edwards Award for projects less than £3M, and four projects are shortlisted for the Made in Wales category – for schemes designed in Wales, but constructed elsewhere in the UK or overseas – and Studies & Research Award.

I’m delighted to see such a diverse range of projects representing the many aspects of civil engineering across Wales.

  • Click here to see all the projects short listed for the ICE Wales Cymru Awards 2016 at: https://www.ice.org.uk/news/wales-civil-engineering-award-shortlist-announced 
  • Get involved in ICE’s devolved elections debate on Twitter at #Commit2infra
  • Keith Jones is ICE Wales Cymru director

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