Sadie Morgan, chair of the National Infrastructure Design Group, has called for those working on major projects to embrace new principles to enhance the quality of the nation’s infrastructure.
The UK’s first ever Design Principles for National Infrastructure, developed by the expert design group, seek to embed four key considerations – climate, people, places and value – into the planning and delivery of projects to construct and renew nationally significant infrastructure:
- Climate – Infrastructure must help set the trajectory for the UK to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner and be capable of adapting to climate change.
- People – Projects should be human scale, instinctive to use and seek opportunities to improve the quality of life for people who live and work nearby.
- Places – Schemes should provide a sense of identity for communities, supporting the natural and built environment and enriching ecosystems.
- Value – Value must be added beyond the main purpose of the infrastructure, solving problems well and achieving multiple benefits.
The publication of the design principles comes just a month before the expected publication of the government’s National Infrastructure Strategy and at the start of a decade in which a number of high-profile projects will be undertaken.
The design group believes the legacy of these schemes will be judged on how they succeed in responding creatively to the needs of climate change, the environment and communities. They are calling for the principles to be adopted in the government’s infrastructure strategy, alongside the National Infrastructure Assessment’s recommendations for all nationally significant projects to have design champions and review panels.
Morgan said: “We are moving into a seminal decade for our infrastructure and the design of every major project should celebrate our nation’s ambition for flourishing communities and an enriched environment. By embedding excellent design into planning and delivery from day one and encouraging everyone in the sector to embrace it as part of their role, we can ensure we leave a proud inheritance that inspires people and helps the UK achieve our climate targets.
“The Design Principles need to be front and centre in the government’s forthcoming National Infrastructure Strategy, so the infrastructure revolution we have been promised is the best that it can be.”
The Design Principles for National Infrastructure are the first of their kind and can be applied to all economic infrastructure - digital communications, energy, transport, flood management, water and waste. The document should be used as a guide by anyone involved in planning, constructing or maintaining national infrastructure.