ICE wants prompt introduction of roads legislation

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has called for the quick introduction of legislation that is set to end stop/start investment patterns in the UK’s roads.

It says the Government must shift the infrastructure agenda from rhetoric into “delivery mode” if it is to retain confidence in the effectiveness of the national infrastructure plan (NIP) and succeed in delivering the infrastructure the UK needs.

In a paper submitted to Infrastructure UK, the leading engineering body said the focus for the next NIP, due to be published with the autumn statement, must be on creating a “robust and focused delivery plan” that facilitates faster and more effective delivery of work on the ground. To help achieve this, it called for Government to replace the “top 40” priority projects list in the NIP – which actually contains over 500 individual projects due to the inclusion of programmes of work – with a shorter, concise list of priorities which align with the UK’s strategic goals.

ICE director general Nick Baveystock (pictured), said: “The NIP has a critical role in enabling the UK to compete in a modern world, creating jobs and growth and providing the stability for the UK to grow its engineering skills and capacity. The first two editions set out a much needed and welcome vision for UK infrastructure, but the need for it to evolve into a robust and focused delivery plan is growing.”

On the promised roads reforms, Baveystock added: “The proposal to create an arm’s length Highways Agency with a multi-year funding settlement is welcome.  The highways sector has suffered more than others from stop/start investment and capricious decision making and these steps therefore signal Government’s commitment to making decisions for the long term. Prompt introduction of the promised legislation to implement the proposals, is however critical.”

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