As a new report from Ipsos MORI further highlights the need to engage with the public about infrastructure investment, account manager Paul Moore discusses how developers can bridge their gap of understanding.

A new report released this week sheds more light on the public’s opinion on infrastructure investment in the UK.

The Global Infrastructure Investor Association, in collaboration with Ipsos MORI, quizzed members of the public in 29 countries across the world, including Britain, about their views on each nation’s infrastructure networks.

It found that while 73% of Brits agree that investing in infrastructure is essential for the UK’s economic growth, 58% don’t think enough is being done to meet our infrastructure needs. Especially when it comes to Britain’s housing supply and railway network, the public feel there is significant room for improvement.

These findings largely echo some of the outcomes from Copper’s own independent report into UK attitudes to infrastructure, launched in 2017.

What’s interesting about this report is that it contrasts with the wealth of investment taking place to improve our infrastructure capabilities. Just look at the Government’s Road Investment Strategy, the number of Nationally Significant Infrastructure projects currently being examined and the forecasted £600 billion of infrastructure investment over the next decade through the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline.

Perhaps the issue is less about action, and more about engagement. We often find through our own work that one of the biggest challenges for development projects is simply informing the wider public about the plans and how they will benefit from them.

In fact, our research revealed an information deficit when it comes to infrastructure development. Close to 60% of respondents felt that the benefits of infrastructure need to be more clearly explained, while 57% said that more could be done to communicate what projects are taking place.

To bridge the gap between growing investment in infrastructure and the lack of public understanding, our industry needs to start from the basics. Talk to more people about how your plans will benefit them, listen to their concerns and start properly engaging with the public to better inform them about your great work.

You can find this letter published in Planning Resource: