ICE Manifesto Calls for Long-Term Flood Risk Investment

Aerial photo of Wigan Flood Alleviation Scheme

In its Manifesto for Infrastructure, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)  has set out its hopes for the next Government “to establish a long term vision for UK infrastructure and a framework that puts the vision above political fault lines – building on progress achieved in recent years rather than starting from scratch in order to maintain momentum and investor confidence.”

In the run-up to the General Election 2015, ICE also urges those in power from 7 May to take steps to “unlock the potential of our city-regions to help rebalance growth, to “future proof” our infrastructure by embedding climate change resilience into decision making, and to up the ante when it comes securing a world class engineering workforce that can drive innovation and economic productivity.”

The ICE Manifesto recommends 10 key policies to help deliver these goals, including a commitment to long-term maintenance investment programme for flood risk management.  In the Manifesto’s section on future-proofing infrastructure, the ICE points out  that population growth and changing weather patterns will put the most pressure on infrastructure in the short and long term.

“One-off cash injections to repair defences following severe storms are welcome, but flooding is not a one-off event,it is a long-term challenge,” says the report. “ICE believes Government should therefore commit to a long term maintenance investment programme,which complements the current 6 year capital commitment.”

The report stresses that 2014 was the UK’s warmest and fourth wettest in records dating back to 1910, according to provisional figures.  Eight of the UK’s top ten warmest years have happened since 2002 and five of the UK’s top six wettest years have happened since 2000.

“As the 2013/14 winter floods showed,  many of our infrastructure networks  are simply not resilient–they are unable to withstand this kind of disruption. Average flood damage costs are currently £1.5billion per year,” the Manifesto warns.

The ICE Manifesto recommends 10 key policies:

  • Create an independent infrastructure body – ideally by restructuring existing Treasury body Infrastructure UK to reduce delay and uncertainty
  • Act swiftly and boldly on the Davies Commission recommendations, paving the way for delivery and avoiding further delay in resolving the UK’s aviation hub issues
  • Work with local authorities to clear the road maintenance backlog and commit to a planned, preventative maintenance regime – addressing defects on a more long-term ‘value for money’ basis
  • Future proof” new infrastructure by embedding resilience – and the “domino effect” across networks when one system fails – into criteria used to make decisions on which projects go ahead
  • Implement Energy Market Reform fully and smoothly with changes kept to a minimum, to entrench cross-party support for electricity decarbonisation
  • Commit to a long-term maintenance investment programme for flood risk management
  • Accelerate the devolution of transport powers by creating city-region transport authorities responsible for roads and all public transport, supported by a national transport strategy for England
  • Commit to increasing the quality – not just the quantity – of apprenticeships so those on schemes achieve a qualification which sets them up for life, and the UK benefits from a pipeline of talent
  • Ensure Ofsted rigorously inspects schools’ careers guidance so the range of “STEM” paths available, including vocational and technician roles, are communicated to students.
  • Establish an Office for Resource Management in Government to entrench a “circular economy” ethos across all departments and promote resource management as a driver of growth

ICE Director General, Nick Baveystock, said: “Infrastructure is the foundation of all modern societies –it not only boosts GDP and job creation but regenerates communities, connects people and places and equips future generations with desirable skills.

“The benefits of infrastructure investment are now well established across political divides, resulting in some welcome schemes and initiatives and infrastructure rightly positioned high on the political agenda. We are however at a critical time – where the scale of the UK’s needs is large and growing,  public finances remain tight and we are slowly emerging as an attractive market for infrastructure investment – it is vital therefore that we do not lose impetus.”

View the ICE’s Manifesto for Infrastructure

Read Phil Collin’s blog: Election Countdown – A Vote for Flood Investment

 

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