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Renewable energy tops our wish list for more national infrastructure

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 11 January 2016 at 9:45 am

What do we the public want from the new National Infrastructure Commission? Actually many of us want renewable energy.  A recent survey of 2,000 members of the public identified that 43% wanted renewable energy to be our investment priority for the UK , followed by 39% highlighting housebuilding and 32% prioritising energy from waste.  Respondents could select a number of options from a long list, so Railways (31%), flood defenses (30%) and major roads (30%) also scored significantly.  However, nuclear power projects (19%), airports (8%) and coal and gas power stations (8%) were towards the bottom of the list, with sports and music venues scoring a lowly 3%.

The independent survey was led by Copper Consultancy in partnership with Peter Brett Associates and carried out by Icaro.

Lord Adonis, interim chair of the Infrastructure commission, before Phil Graham’s appointment said: “This report is timely and vital. For too long the British people have been forced to put up with chaos, congestion and costs, thanks to successive governments’ failure to build the long-term infrastructure this country needs. So as we establish the independent National Infrastructure Commission, it is clear we have to utterly transform the way we plan and deliver major projects in this country. 

“This survey shows that the public want proper investment and planning behind world class developments. But whilst the support is there for real improvement, people rightly demand proper engagement and genuine consultation.

“It is now up to the industry as a whole to take these findings forward and build the broad coalition of support we need to secure the projects of the future.”

When asked what would increase confidence in the infrastructure sector, British people said community engagement (41%), consultation (30%), and leadership from politicians (25%) and technical experts (24%).  Interestingly two in three respondents (67%) said they were interested in being involved in discussions about the future infrastructure needs of their area/region.  Perhaps that’s because only 6% think that infrastructure projects in their area are very well coordinated/part of a strategic plan at present.

The report shows that many of our opinions are based on where we live, a clear urban/rural divide is seen in some answers and there is a tendency to stick with political type too.  The whole report can be found at Independent survey of attitudes to infrastructure in Great Britain 2015

Phil Graham has just been appointed as head of the new National Infrastructure Commission.  The commission was announced on 5th October and is designed to to provide expert independent analysis of the long-term infrastructure needs of the country. Mr Graham led the development of the government’s high speed rail strategy, as well as leading the team supporting Sir Howard Davies’ Airports Commission and working on the London Olympics.

The commission will publish a National Infrastructure Assessment every Parliament setting out its analysis of the UK’s infrastructure needs over a 10 to 30 year horizon.


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