Engineers Support Circular Economy In General Election Manifesto

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has published its pre-General Election Manifesto for Infrastructure, renewing its support for a move towards a more circular economy and its recommendation that government should establish an Office for Resource Management.

ICE says the Office will help government to entrench a “circular economy” ethos across all departments and promote resource management as a driver of growth.

In its Manifesto for Infrastructure published yesterday (10 February), it warns that failing to make infrastructure a priority, or instead opting for quick electoral wins, could result in “other competing nations taking our edge and the UK’s resilience diminishing”.

It says that whichever party wins the General Election, they must place infrastructure at the heart of economic plans with priority for investment, if the UK is to succeed in driving long-term economic growth and job creation, regenerating our communities and improving quality of life for the public.

ICE director general, Nick Baveystock – “This is no time for the faint hearted – the next Government must establish a long-term vision for infrastructure and a framework that facilitates cross-party consensus”

In 2013 UK construction contributed £92.4bn in economic output – 6.1% of the total. In Q3 of 2014, 2.1mn jobs were in the construction industry.

It also urges those in power from 7 May to take steps to unlock the potential of our city-regions to help rebalance growth, to “future proof” our infrastructure by embedding climate change resilience into decision making, and to up the ante when it comes securing a world class engineering workforce that can drive innovation and economic productivity (see all 10 recommendations below).

ICE director general, Nick Baveystock, said: “This is no time for the faint hearted – the next Government must establish a long-term vision for infrastructure and a framework that facilitates cross-party consensus. We need to build the UK’s resilience, rebalance growth, and secure a world-class engineering workforce.”

Office For Resource Management

The call for the implementation of an Office for Resource Management is renewed from   ICE’s June report (2014) into the State of the Nation, which found the “state” of waste infrastructure in the UK “needs attention”, after awarding it a grade C+ in a system of A to E.

The report highlighted the progress made in waste networks since 2010, but suggests more needs to be done if we are to have “world class infrastructure” – in particular on the issue of resiliency given its impact on the economy and the major challenges ahead.

The C+ given to the state of waste infrastructure in the UK is an improvement on its C grade awarded in 2010. The grade C+, according to the ICE grading system, indicates that waste infrastructure in the UK “requires attention”.

“…objectives should be put in place for 2018, which include England having a clear waste policy, which is overseen by one coherent body, and that a circular economy should be in the process of being implemented throughout the UK”

It recommended that objectives should be put in place for 2018, which include England having a clear waste policy, which is overseen by one coherent body, and that a circular economy should be in the process of being implemented throughout the UK.

A move from waste to resource management and a circular economy should be at the centre of government policy across the UK, it said, and an Office for Resource Management located in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills should be established to provide strategic leadership over resource management policy across government in England. (See CIWM Journal Online story)

ICE is not alone in suggesting the recommendation. A briefing paper published in July last year by the Resource Association recommended that an Office for Resource Management be established within Defra, tasked with increasing the publics’ understanding of how resources are used in the UK, and facilitating a cultural change in use and re-use.

The Resource Association and “progressive thinktank” the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published the report, “The wasteline: Redefining ‘waste’ and improving resource management policy”, which is aimed at analysing Britain’s “waste” policy to date.

The report identified strategic goals in helping to move the UK towards a more circular economy, and sets out recommendations for how they can be achieved. (See CIWM Journal Online story)

The ICE Manifesto 10 Key Policies Recommendations

  1. Create an independent infrastructure body – ideally by restructuring existing Treasury body Infrastructure UK to reduce delay and uncertainty
  2. Act swiftly and boldly on the Davies Commission recommendations, paving the way for delivery and avoiding further delay in resolving the UK’s aviation hub issues
  3. Work with local authorities to clear the road maintenance backlog and commit to a planned, preventative maintenance regime – addressing defects on a more long-term ‘value for money’ basis
  4. “Future proof” new infrastructure by embedding resilience – and the “domino effect” across networks when one system fails – into criteria used to make decisions on which projects go ahead
  5. Implement Energy Market Reform fully and smoothly with changes kept to a minimum, to entrench cross-party support for electricity decarbonisation
  6. Commit to a long-term maintenance investment programme for flood risk management
  7. Accelerate the devolution of transport powers by creating city-region transport authorities responsible for roads and all public transport, supported by a national transport strategy for England
  8. Commit to increasing the quality – not just the quantity – of apprenticeships so those on schemes achieve a qualification which sets them up for life, and the UK benefits from a pipeline of talent
  9. Ensure Ofsted rigorously inspects schools’ careers guidance so the range of “STEM” paths available, including vocational and technician roles, are communicated to students.
  10. Establish an Office for Resource Management in Government to entrench a “circular economy” ethos across all departments and promote resource management as a driver of growth

View the Manifesto for Infrastructure


 

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