Roads, flood defences and energy 'require attention from policymakers', says ICE

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
29 June 2014

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30 June 2014 | Will Green

The three sectors of energy, flood management and local transport are “of particular concern”, according to a report into the state of the UK’s infrastructure.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) said these sectors “require the most attention from policymakers” and “if we are to compete in the global economy the UK cannot afford to settle for infrastructure which does not meet the challenges we are now encountering”.

The report said: “Increasingly extreme climatic conditions compounded by demands from a growing population mean that we can no longer provide and operate infrastructure at all times and to the high levels of service expected.”

The report said a third of local roads are “in urgent need of attention”, around a fifth of the UK’s electricity generating capacity, in fossil fuels and nuclear, is “expected to be retired”, while between 2015 and 2021 “government will spend £1.4 billion less on flood management than the Environment Agency’s estimated need”.

In State of the Nation: Infrastructure 2014 ICE said local roads and flood management had deteriorated since the last report in 2010, while “water, waste and strategic transport will all require future proofing”.

ICE recommends the creation of more powerful transport authorities in cities, a long-term capital and maintenance programme for flood management, and more “clarity, certainty and transparency” from the government on planned infrastructure projects.

“ICE’s overall view is that the approach to delivering and maintaining infrastructure requires attention,” said the report.

Meanwhile, a study by PwC predicted UK spending on capital projects and infrastructure will increase from £70 billion in 2014 to £106 billion in 2025.

In Capital project and infrastructure spending: Outlook to 2025 PwC said power and transport would account for almost half of spending, compared with a third today.

Richard Abadie, global leader for capital projects and infrastructure, said: “We expect transport and power to be the growth sectors up to 2025 with transport doubling and power generation nearly tripling. This spending will be critical to ensuring economic growth in the UK and global competitiveness.”

Globally, spend on capital projects and infrastructure is expected to be $9 trillion (£5.3 trillion) in 2025, up from $4 trillion (£2.4 trillion) in 2012.

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