2000px-Institution_of_Civil_Engineers.svgA coalition of business, industry, academic and environment leaders have issued a nationwide call for evidence to inform an independent assessment of the UK’s future infrastructure needs.

Evidence is sought on a range of issues, from how public engagement in infrastructure can be improved, through to the opportunities and challenges presented by the devolution of infrastructure decision making. The assessment aims to ensure that national decision-making is integrated with regional and local planning.

The coalition undertaking the “National Needs Assessment” is being chaired by Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) President and National Infrastructure Commission member Sir John Armitt and was announced in November. It includes ICE, CBI, KPMG, Pinsent Masons, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Graham Dalton (Independent), National Grid, London First, Green Alliance, Transport for Greater Manchester, Thames Water and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

The assessment will be based on evidence gathered during the nationwide consultation launched today, evidence hearings, research being undertaken by the Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium, and a vast pool of data and analysis. It will take into account factors such as climate change, population growth and technological “game changers”. It will also review different options for meeting the UK’s needs, considering affordability, public acceptability and environmental obligations. A report will be published in the autumn, setting out a vision for UK infrastructure up to 2050 and a series of interventions Government and industry will need to make to realise the vision.

ICE President, Sir John Armitt, said: “Effective infrastructure drives regional and national growth, supports job creation and creates thriving, sustainable societies. But infrastructure is expensive, can be disruptive during construction, and requires fine political judgement so resources are best used to meet the country’s needs.

“The National Infrastructure Commission has been established to provide dispassionate analysis on these long term needs, and act as a catalyst for reaching consensus so vital projects are built. The recommendations it makes must therefore be robust, evidence based and help policy-makers with the often difficult and controversial decisions they have to take.

“This coalition of leading organisations has united to provide the Commission with an independent view on infrastructure, which it can feed into its work. We all share a common goal – the development of a long term infrastructure strategy which drives the economic growth necessary to enhance the UK’s position in the global economy, support a high quality of life and enable a shift to a low carbon future.

“We will harness the coalition’s broad expertise and importantly, open the infrastructure debate up to all with a stake through our wide consultation.”

Find out more about the call for evidence and get involved at: http://www.ice.org.uk/national-needs-assessment

Join the debate on Twitter using #UKInfraNeeds