Planning for a smart, sustainable future is an ongoing challenge that the UK, and arguably the world, continues to face.

Following the announcement that Lib Dems will, if elected, commit to reaching the UK’s net-zero carbon emissions target by 2030, it’s important now more than ever that our choices for planning are aligned – from local plans to national policies.

The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) published a Smarter Approach to Infrastructure Planning research report yesterday, highlighting the “fragmented approaches to planning infrastructure such as transport, energy, water, schools and hospitals”.

The key five action points drawn out from the report are:

  • A shared vision of place, with clear objectives
  • Specific infrastructure priorities identified to achieve that vision, aligned to funding sources
  • Effective and early engagement to align planning and delivery
  • Capacity, knowledge and resources
  • Continuous learning and dissemination

We know from experience that having a good plan in place is just the beginning, and it’s the evolution of the public’s attitudes that will inspire real change.

Investment in infrastructure doesn’t stop there – it’s an investment in our communities, people and places.

Earlier this month we spoke about how water is imperative to every one of our day-to-day activities, so why is it that infrastructure isn’t considered in the same way?

As Morphet alludes to in Infrastructure Delivery, Planning an effective practice approach, 2016 “societies rely on infrastructure for all that they do”, but it’s not surprising that the public’s overall opinion of UK infrastructure is that it’s not managing to meet the ever-increasing demands.

“The UK must stop running to stand still.” National Infrastructure Assessment, 2018.

The RTPI concludes that filling the gaps between the current fragmented systems will allow the UK to better “reduce the productivity gap, meet its international obligations on climate change, adapt to growing environmental risks and to deliver the quality and quantity of housing required.”

Copper Consultancy previously carried out a ‘Choices for Planning: challenges for infrastructure and development’ study. Read here for more information.