Engineers and contractors have welcomed the publication of the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan (NIDP), which brings together the Government's ambitions for this parliament.
But the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has questioned the inclusion of housing in the document, as well as the absence of discussion of ‘the elephant in the room’ – plans for a hub airport in the South East.
The NIDP includes chapters on Roads, Rail, and Airports and Ports, largely summarising the Government’s existing commitments.
It also incorporates the latest version of the National infrastructure Pipeline, which highlights over £425bn worth of planned investment in over 600 major projects and programmes across the UK to 2020-21 and beyond.
Nick Baveystock, Institution of Civil Engineers director general, said: ‘The National Infrastructure Plan has evolved steadily since 2010, and this new iteration of the plan and pipeline builds on the progress made, improving visibility for the supply chain and investor community.
‘The shift in focus to delivery over five years sets a fresh tone – one of “spades in the ground” – and we welcome the recognition that this must be complemented by a vision for the longer-term. This brings to the fore the role of the National Infrastructure Commission in setting out the UK’s priorities up to 2050, and the importance of a robust needs assessment to underpin the vision.'
The Government has also published a new Construction Strategy that commits to reducing the cost of projects by £1.7bn during this parliament through the use of innovation and efficiency.
Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association said: ‘The publications of these two new strategies alongside the establishment of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority will improve industry confidence in the delivery of public infrastructure over the next few years. Government must now work with the construction industry to implement these reforms as soon as possible to ensure the delivery of world-class infrastructure in the UK.’
Jeremy Blackburn, RICS head of policy, called the NIDP ‘a hugely welcome - if long-awaited development’.
‘As a word of caution, we are surprised that housing has been tied in with an infrastructure plan. These are both important and very separate issues,' he added.
'The housing crisis, be it the delivery of new social housing for affordable rents or the construction of homes for private ownership, should be afforded a plan in its own right if the Government truly wants to prove its credentials in this field.
‘Of course, the elephant in the room is the future hub airport. We would be naïve to assume that we will see any announcement ahead of the London mayoral elections, but it is none-the-less surprising that a National Infrastructure Delivery Plan avoids mention of the biggest issue facing British infrastructure today.’