Strategy would be first step toward UK-wide policy
The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has called for the creation of a national transport strategy for England.
In a policy position statement published yesterday, the group said that the absence of such a plan was impeding progress towards goals related to net zero and societal inequality.
It comes days after the House of Commons transport select committee issued a call for evidence ahead of an inquiry into how the government invests in transport infrastructure.
The inquiry will examine how the UK’s strategic objectives for transport influence investment decisions in services, networks and infrastructure.
In its call for evidence, the transport committee said: “We want to investigate the extent to which the Government takes a long-term, national and multi-modal approach to predicting, providing for, maintaining and developing the country’s transport needs, and what difference adoption of clear, national strategic objectives for transport could make.”
Future investment planning is typically done based on individual transport modes or specific programmes, with bodies in different parts of the country advocating for new infrastructure for their area.
However, the committee cited arguments, by organisations such as the ICE and the National Infrastructure Commission, for a more strategic, national-level approach to investment decisions.
Last October, ICE published a joint policy paper with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Infrastructure which made the case for a national transport strategy for England.
Yesterday’ updated policy statement called for a strategy setting out an overarching vision for a sustainable transport network, with the roles and responsibilities required of key stakeholders in delivering this vision set out clearly.
According to the ICE, a national strategy for England would be a pragmatic step towards a UK-wide plan and would bring the country into line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Jonathan Spruce, director of the ICE, said: “Journeys and transport network infrastructure don’t stop at borders, and in the long-term, the whole UK will need to work together to answer questions like how air and maritime transport should evolve.
“To that end, the Government should publish a response to the Union Connectivity Review as soon as possible.
“However, we need to make significant strides quickly. Developing a transport strategy for England will help end the cycle of transport investment decisions that are blinkered, funded in the short-term, and disconnected from greater social, economic, and environmental outcomes.”
The transport committee’s consultation will close on 25 August.