18912The majority of people in the North East think devolving powers on infrastructure and transport would have a positive impact on their local area, according to a survey commissioned by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

Across the region only 28% of people think devolution will make local services less efficient and only 33% want it to slow down, while 67% felt a new fund to boost skills growth would have a positive impact and 60% said greater local control of flood management would have a positive impact.

Almost two thirds of respondents said devolution could help to boost the local economy and a similar number believe devolution plans resulting in a single travel ticket to be used on all transport would have a positive effect on their local area.

The survey results did however suggest the public were less positive about devolution plans being implemented without their views being sought, with 81% saying local people should vote to decide whether powers are devolved to their area.

When asked which infrastructure decisions should be controlled locally, bus franchising came out top with 79% wanting local control, compared to 10% who think central government should decide.

Jonathan Spruce, from ICE’s State of the Nation: Devolution steering group, said: “The Government’s ‘devolution revolution’ is speeding up and the commitment is positive –locating powers closer to those it affects carries the potential for greater focus, investment and better decision making.

“However to get the most out of devolution, we need a better understanding on how and where it can work most effectively. We also need a better feel of the needs, ambition and capacity of each area to establish frameworks and assume the greater responsibility.

“Our State of the Nation: Devolution campaign, which will culminate in a major report to policy makers this June, will examine this drawing on wide pool of expertise. The public have a huge stake in the devolution debate and while this survey suggests a positive attitude in principle, there is clearly a desire to be more involved in the process and some strong views are emerging on which decisions should be devolved and the likely benefits. These views will be explored and incorporated into our evidence base.”

ComRes surveyed 1724 English adults online between 5-7th February 2016. Data are weighted to be representative of all adults in England aged 18+.