Transport network “at risk”, ICE report claims

26/06/2014
Highways Reporters

The government and local authorities must establish a more ambitious joint programme to clear the road maintenance backlog. That’s one of the key recommendations from the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) after local transport was graded D- (“at risk”) in its State of the Nation: Infrastructure 2014 “scorecard” report published today (26 June).

The UK’s transport, energy, flood, waste and water networks have all been graded from A to E.

ICE welcomed the progress since 2010 in improving infrastructure and positioning it as a core enabler of economic growth, but it said more needed 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. This was highlighted by the “at risk” or “requires attention” grades for flood management, energy and local transport networks – due to the narrowing gap between supply and demand for energy, inadequate resilience to flooding and the decline in maintenance of both flood defences and local roads following investment cuts.

ICE claim that more frequent extreme weather events will make it increasingly difficult to operate our infrastructure networks in all conditions at the level of service we expect, and our expectations of availability will need to change.

The ICE report said resilience – including the “domino effect” where the failure of one system can affect the operation of another - should be embedded into the criteria used as a basis for making decisions on priority infrastructure projects, to better reflect future challenges.

It also warned however, that while we need to build the UK’s resilience, our infrastructure cannot be resilient to every eventuality, and that it will become more difficult to operate all infrastructure networks, at all times, in all conditions. It said a shift in the public’s expectations on infrastructure availability would be needed.

State of the Nation report chair and ICE vice president, Keith Clarke CBE, said: “As the 2013/14 winter floods showed, unplanned interruptions in our networks are costly to society and the economy. They happen because we are trying to run all services at all times, and are deemed unacceptable as the public expect a certain level of service. Government ultimately bears the risk for the resulting impact.

“It is becoming clear that extreme weather events will become more frequent, and it is time that factors such as availability, resilience and the “domino effect” across the networks when one network fails –as we saw recently when our flood defences were overwhelmed and this in turn disrupted transport, energy, water and waste networks - are rooted into the criteria used to make decisions on which projects go ahead so new infrastructure is more “future proofed”.

“But, importantly, we must all recognise that our infrastructure cannot be resilient to everything and it will become more difficult to run all services in all conditions – it will also not be cost effective. Funding will always be constrained as there are only two sources – tax and user charging - both ultimately falling on the consumer. The balance between the two is a choice for the government of the day, but irrespective of where it comes from, both are constrained resources and must be used efficiently.

“Clearly there are some difficult decisions ahead regarding just how resilient the UK should be, and also what networks can and should operate 24/7 in what conditions. We can then plan more effectively – avoiding costly unplanned disruptions – and adapt. Management of the public’s expectations on availability during adverse conditions will need to form a key part of this process.

“The onus is on government to make these choices for public sector infrastructure, and it must also build on its efforts to provide the right regulatory incentives to improve resilience within private sector infrastructure.”

 

Grades:

 


  • Local transport: Grade D- minus “at risk” (2010 Grade: D)


  • Flood management: Grade C- minus “requires attention” (2010 Grade: C)


  • Energy: Grade C- minus “requires attention” (2010 Grade: D)


  • Strategic transport: Grade B “adequate for now”  (2010 Grade: B)


  • Water: Grade B “adequate for now” (2010 Grade: B)


  • Waste: Grade C+ plus “requires attention”(2010 Grade: C)


 

Key ICE recommendations:

 

On strategic decision making and leadership, government should:

1. Expand the criteria used as a basis for making decisions on priority infrastructure projects to reflect major future challenges – criteria should include resilience, availability, the pathway to a low carbon economy and better acknowledge “interdependencies” across networks – or how one sector impacts on another.

2. Be prepared to make tough choices regarding the levels of resilience in the UK’s infrastructure networks and the appropriate levels of service/availability - and work with industry to manage public expectation.

3. Ensure the right regulatory environment exists to incentivise private infrastructure operators to build resilience into infrastructure.

4. Be appropriately resourced to make and implement decisions on key issues affecting the UK’s resilience or competitiveness, such as aviation capacity.

 

5. Provide more clarity, certainty and transparency for potential investors through the regularly published National Infrastructure Plan project pipeline - by including more detail on investable projects, their status, planning approval, ownership structure and revenue streams.

 

On energy, local transport and flood management sectors:

6. The Environment Agency and lead local flood authorities should fully implement a holistic approach to flood management, which includes a wider range of measures in addition to conventional flood defences – including building the physical resilience of communities by making property and infrastructure more resistant.

7. Government should provide the longer term certainty needed to improve flood resilience by committing to a long term capital and maintenance programme for Flood Management which protects funding beyond the current 5 year cycle.

8. Government should enact the secondary legislation to implement EMR by the end of this Parliament, establishing long-term investor confidence and entrenching cross-party support for electricity decarbonisation.

9. Government should extend devolved transport powers and funding through the creation of more powerful, fully integrated transport authorities in city regions.

10. Government and local authorities must establish a more ambitious joint programme to clear the road maintenance backlog, and commit to a more cost effective planned, preventative maintenance regime.
Highways jobs

Waste Projects Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£29,738 - £36,036 depending on skills
Do you have skills and experience relevant to local authorities, waste management and/or managing projects? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Environmental Health Officer (Environmental Protection)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£33,799 - £35,934
This role is in the Pollution and Noise Control team, leading the Majors and Project Support team... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Project/Programme Manager (Construction) - 4 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£42,683 - £44,632
This is an exciting and challenging time and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction related projects, to achieve... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Community Environmental Support Officer x 5 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
You will work as part of a team tackling personal, nuisance and environmental anti-social behaviour to improve the quality of life for... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Environmental Health Officers within Environmental Protection, Health and Safety and Food Safety

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£30,507 - £32,878
We expect candidates to have expertise or qualifications in one or more of the relevant areas of Air Quality, Acoustics and/or Contaminated Land. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Assistant Director

Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council
£92,826 - £111,231
This is an ideal opportunity for an expert waste management professional to make a real impact and to lead the service to outstanding. Fulham, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council

Environmental Health Officer and Grad EHO – Private Sector Housing with benefits*

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £42,490
Exciting opportunity for a highly organised and enthusiastic Environment Health Officer or a newly qualified graduate working towards... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Director of Inclusive Growth and Public Sector Reform

West Midlands Combined Authority
£110,000
The role requires someone with a talent for innovation and a passion for designing and implementing public services. West Midlands Region
Recruiter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Vehicle Technician x3

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
All Candidates must hold a clean category C driving licence (CPC not required). Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938.0 per annum
Primary locations will include Clacton and Harlow only. Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part tim England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods and Climate Change

Durham County Council
£148,583
You will manage a range of front-line services including bins and waste, transport, environmental health, technical services, partnerships and... Durham (County)
Recruiter: Durham County Council

Tenancy Enforcement Assistant

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.377 - £23.607
Looking for individuals who have an interest in the environment with good customer service skills, flexible approach to work and a good team player. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Head of Programme Management Office

Manchester City Council
£60,857 to £65,865
As the Head of PMO, you will define and maintain standards for project management within the Highways Service. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recruiter: Manchester City Council

Highways Development Specialist

Manchester City Council
£60,857 to £65,865
Seeking a highly capable strategic leader to join the team to develop our strategic pipeline of works and financial model. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recruiter: Manchester City Council

Civil Engineering Technician Apprentice

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£214 per week
Are you looking to gain vital work experience as an Apprentice? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Assistant Planner/Planner

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £32,878
The ideal candidate will already have... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Engineer

Liverpool City Council
£37,849 - £42,683
The successful candidate will... Liverpool, Merseyside
Recruiter: Liverpool City Council

Environmental Health Officer (Food, Health & Safety) & Environmental Health Technical Officer

Dacorum Borough Council
£24,710 to £39,034
You will be highly motivated and be expected to deliver against a challenging work plan. London (Greater)
Recruiter: Dacorum Borough Council

Director of Public Health

Worcestershire County Council
Competitive Salary
We’ll look to you to take responsibility for the high-calibre delivery of... Worcestershire
Recruiter: Worcestershire County Council

Street Cleansing Operative Driver (Large Goods Vehicles)

Redbridge London Borough Council
£22,377 to £23,607
We are looking to recruit staff for both our day service and evening service. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue
  • Highways England at Westminster
  • Traffex Scotland and Bridges Scotland guide
  • Highways Awards winners
View the latest issue

Latest Video