Article | July 27, 2021
The UK’s Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP, has announced a full review of the National Policy Statement (NPS) for national networks covering major roads and rail.
NPSs outline the UK government’s strategic policy intent for infrastructure development and are used as part of the planning system to determine if a proposed project should be granted development consent. The review aims to bring the national networks NPS in line with commitments to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
The secretary of state said: "The current National policy statement (NPS) on national networks, the government’s statement of strategic planning policy for major road and rail schemes, was written in 2014 – before the government’s legal commitment to net zero, the 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, the new sixth carbon budget and most directly the new, more ambitious policies outlined in the transport decarbonisation plan."
Article | August 4, 2021
In amongst the chatter about how we can 'do' infrastructure better, there's now a growing consensus that we need to improve the way we design our interventions - 'design' in the broader sense of the word, rather than the narrow sense we tend to use as engineers.
My front-end principles for better infrastructure
Over the course of my career, the following front-end principles have served well to ensure we think through, before we rush in where angels fear to tread.
Be clear about the purpose and the expected outcomes, and engage communities in decision-making through an effective communication strategy.
Prioritise the user, aiming to offer services that are modern, effective and affordable.
Seek to improve people's quality of life and support the transition to a more sustainable future, while also facilitating the functioning of the economy, enhancing productivity and accommodating growth (to the extent possible, given other competing objectives).
Extract greatest value from existing infrastructure through timely maintenance, repurposing, renewal and upgrading. Seek to remove constraints and bottlenecks.
Aim to make best use of data, automation, innovation and technology (including for future asset management), recognising the complexity and risks this may introduce.
Recognise, analyse, mitigate and manage technical, environmental and climate risks, and complete any surveys necessary to support this.
Improve governance, with robust, timely and transparent decision-making, supported by strong evidence-based planning, clear prioritisation, and best practice technical design and delivery.
Seek an appropriate funding balance between 'user pays' and general taxation which incentivises behaviours in the best long-term social, economic and environmental interests.
Complete well-evidenced business cases and risk assessments of proposed initiatives before embarking on projects, including financing proposals. Aim to allocate the risks identified to those best able to carry them.
Facilitate collaboration between the government and business to promote delivery of the broader social, economic and environmental benefits.
Clearly, there are many other issues to consider as a project develops, and the above principles may seem obvious to some, and a counsel of perfection to others, but it's surprising how many are overlooked in the rush to build.
Article | August 17, 2021
ICE Policy and Public Affairs recently launched a discussion paper and consultation on what should be in the second National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA). The work progresses the institution’s aims to influence infrastructure policy at a systems level.
This autumn, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) will publish its baseline assessment of the current state of key infrastructure sectors, along with proposals for the strategic themes and main priorities of the second NIA expected in 2023.
Having been closely involved in both the establishment of the NIC in 2013 and the first NIA in 2018, our consultation asks what the core considerations of NIA2 should be – including net-zero, levelling-up and climate resilience – and explores which demand drivers have changed since the first NIA.
Through this paper, we’re seeking to shape the wider infrastructure policy debate, consistently and over a number of years, by examining what our long-term infrastructure should look like – and most importantly, ensure it delivers the sustainable future outcomes we need it to. Look out for more updates later this year on ICE’s work in this area.
Article | May 5, 2021
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is revolutionizing the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry worldwide. For many public sector and major projects, BIM has become the required method of working. Yet, despite the increasing acceptance and use of BIM, there are still some barriers to its adoption.