ACE RESPONDS TO NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE ASSESSMENT
National Infrastructure Commission's report outlines future investment strategy.
Responding to the publication of the NIC’s National Infrastructure Assessment, Dr Nelson Ogunshakin OBE, chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), said:
"The fact that a report of this kind has been produced by the NIC is great news. It allows us to have strategic oversight of the project pipeline and ensures government is kept to account. Perhaps most importantly it enables us to understand infrastructure in terms of effects and outputs – what these projects collectively mean in terms of delivering energy and tackling flooding in the face of climate change, enabling the growth of our cities, and ensuring our digital and transport networks are fit-for-the-future."
Metro-mayors, Crossrail 2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail
Welcoming the NIC’s call for Crossrail 2 and the Northern Powerhouse rail, Nelson Ogunshakin said:
"We were delighted to see unambiguous backing for two significant transport projects of national importance in the assessment, Crossrail 2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. These will help to deliver continued success for these regions and beyond. It is vital we don’t lose the knowledge and expertise gained in the construction of Crossrail, which is why the government should give both of these projects the green-light immediately."
On more powers for the metro-mayors and city leaders, Ogunshakin added: "It is vital that these areas are given more powers to influence decisions on transport, housing and employment. Devolved infrastructure budgets will enable strategic interventions for the good of local communities by bodies who fully understand local needs."
Low-cost green energy
Welcoming the NIC’s call to seize the "golden opportunity" to switch to low-cost greener energy, Nelson Ogunshakin said:
"The Assessment’s holistic approach towards greener energy should also be applauded. We will need significant investments in solar and wind, as well as improvements to the energy efficiency of buildings, which is why we were delighted to see calls for £3.8 billion to be spent in improving the efficiency of the country’s social housing stock.
"The Commission is clear that all of this can be delivered without increasing bills for consumers, leaving few excuses for political delay and I look forward to the government’s positive response. This is especially important given the recent decision on the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project."
Future of roads
Commenting on road transport, Dave Beddell, chair of ACE’s roads group, said:
"A modern, well-maintained road network is critical to economic growth and we urge the government to follow through with the investment needed to future-proof our roads for tomorrow’s user needs."
"We were delighted to see positive ideas around an electric vehicle charging network. It’s clear as more and more electric cars and vans make their way onto our roads, we will need a standardised network of charging points across all of the UK.
"The assessment has highlighted the need for subsidies to help the spread of charging points in rural areas and targets for local authorities to bring electric charging to their parking spaces. Both of these will be crucial if we are to see a truly national charging network emerge over the next few years. Furthermore, the establishment of a centre for advanced transport technology is a welcome suggestion and vital to ensuring a smooth transition for connected and autonomous vehicles.
"On a broader level, we welcome the autonomy the report recommends to devolved administrations, which will help ensure funding is directed to where it is most needed at a regional level for all infrastructure projects, including roads."