Copper Consultancy and specialist research agency, Icaro, in partnership with Peter Brett Associates (PBA), a leading development and infrastructure consultancy, have published results from a survey which examines attitudes to infrastructure in Great Britain.

The report “Independent survey of attitudes to infrastructure in Great Britain 2015” was launched on 7 December at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) where Lord Adonis (Chair of the newly created National Infrastructure Commission) and Sir John Armitt (Commissioner and President of ICE) spoke about the importance of involving the public and building a consensus around the need and benefits of infrastructure.

The report finds that almost 9 out of 10 people in Britain want to see investment in new infrastructure – but many also want more of a say in how it’s planned and delivered.

The report also found that 87 per cent of those surveyed support investment in infrastructure, and 85 per cent want to see world-leading or solid improvements to existing infrastructure.

However, only six per cent of British people think there is a ‘very well co-ordinated’ national or local plan. Many people feel that infrastructure projects happen ‘to them’, not ‘for them’ and they do not see any local or national coordination.

When asked what would increase confidence in the infrastructure sector, British people said community engagement (41 per cent), consultation (30 per cent), and leadership from politicians (25 per cent) and technical experts (24 per cent).

Lord Adonis, Chair, National Infrastructure Commission, 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.”

Sir John Armitt, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers and National Infrastructure Commissioner said: “Public interest in infrastructure is as much driven by fear of disrupted lives as it is by a promise of greater convenience, speed or improved quality of life. The challenge for us all – ICE, Government and the NIC alike – is to open up the debate and address these fears. Our ability to explain – in plain language – what we are trying to achieve and why, to be prepared to consider alternative solutions and to put ourselves in the public’s shoes is absolutely vital if we are to gain sufficient political and public support, without which important projects simply cannot proceed.”

Linda Taylor, Director, Copper Consultancy said: “British people want infrastructure. They believe we can deliver it and can see the benefits when it happens. But they want to see a plan, they want to see how it all fits together, they want to be involved and they want to see more leadership. The new National Infrastructure Commission is a great start, but the hard work starts now.  We need to explain and open up the infrastructure debate to the Great British public.

“The majority of people want to know how they can get involved in infrastructure in a more direct way. When the benefits of a project are made clear, people sit up and are proud of what we can achieve such as the Olympics, transport projects in towns and cities and major engineering projects.”

Keith Mitchell, Chairman, Peter Brett Associates said: “There is public understanding about the need for investment in infrastructure as a way of supporting sustainable economic growth. The public feels that major projects happen to communities, rather than for them. Effective political and technical leadership and meaningful engagement and consensus building are essential to unlocking projects.”

To download a copy of the report, please use the following link:

20151203_Attitudes to infrastructure in Great Britain 2015_FINAL PDF

To download a copy of the press release, please use the following link: 20151203 Attitudes to Infrastructure press release FINAL

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