State of the Nation: Changes must happen now, says ICE

State of the Nation, Institution of Civil Engineers,

We have a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to recalibrate the economy” and build a better future, says the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)

The UK was already failing to meet the less ambitious target of 80% reduction by 2050, so action to make significant changes in infrastructure delivery must happen now, the ICE sets out in its ‘State of the Nation 2020: Infrastructure and the 2050 Net-Zero Target‘.

To achieve the ambitious 2050 target, and with infrastructure making up more than 60% of total UK emissions, a systemic and wholesale change to the procurement and delivery of infrastructure across the UK is needed. 

State of the Nation

ICE produces a State of the Nation each year which sets out a range of policy interventions. These interventions are aimed at ensuring the UK has high-performing infrastructure networks that facilitate economic growth and improve quality of life for those living across the nations.

Published today (1 July), the 2020 report outlines actions and policy interventions that should be considered to encourage the sector, and the UK economy more widely, move in this direction. Each year, the report focuses on a relevant and pertinent topic.

In previous years the report has focused on housing, infrastructure investment, digital transformation and devolution.

A plan for a net-zero future

These include a ‘Net-Zero Infrastructure Plan‘, to set a strategic direction for the built environment sector; reform of the government’s Green Book, to better reflect the net-zero target in project appraisals and assessment, and updating models of regulation to further promote the achievement of net-zero.

The final section of the report also sets out actions being undertaken by the Institution for it to continue supporting the built environment sector in the transition to net-zero. Through a long-term programme of collaborative work, ICE will seek to share knowledge and best practice on delivering low-carbon solutions across the industry.

A critical role and responsibility

Keith Howells, ICE vice president and State of the Nation steering group chair, said: “The climate emergency and net-zero transition present an unprecedented challenge for engineers to solve.

“We have a critical role and responsibility to do all we can to aid society in this important transformation, but we need a supportive environment that empowers us and influences users’ behaviours.

“The pandemic provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to recalibrate the economy and create systemic and wholesale change to the infrastructure ecosystem.

“Our report outlines how, through collaboration and change, we can plan, build and operate infrastructure that meets the needs of the future.”


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