Once-in-a-generation opportunity to recalibrate the economy and build a net-zero future

1 July 2020

Once-in-a-generation opportunity to recalibrate the economy and build a net-zero future

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) each year produces a report called “State of the Nation” which sets out a range of policy interventions aimed at ensuring the UK has high-performing infrastructure networks that facilitate economic growth and improve quality of life for those living across the nations.

The report this year said the Covid-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented chance to reset the way we design, build and operate infrastructure in the future. To achieve the UK’s ambitious 2050 emissions targets and with infrastructure making up more than 60% of total UK emissions, significant changes are required to ensure that those targets are achievable.

Keith Howells, ICE vice-president and State of the Nation steering group chair said: “The climate emergency and net zero transition present an unprecedented challenge for engineers to solve. We have a critical role and responsibility to do all we can to aid society in this important transformation, but we need a supportive environment that empowers us, and influences users’ behaviours.

“The pandemic provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to recalibrate the economy and create systemic and wholesale change to the infrastructure ecosystem. Our report outlines how, through collaboration and change, we can plan, build and operate infrastructure that meets the needs of the future.”

The report found that around two thirds of British adults surveyed thought the UK government (69%) and business (65%) were mainly responsible for achieving emissions targets, however only one third (31%) said they though the government had a plan to achieve this.

The report is a helpful demonstration of stakeholder views on the evolving climate problem. It examines the role of industry and government in building toward a greener future and sets out recommendations on how to address the challenges and how to provide the knowledge, skills and expertise to reach net zero.

The report is an interesting read to examine industry leaders’ perspectives on how we can build back better and can be found here.