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State of the Nation

State of the Nation is the ICE’s flagship report on the current state of UK infrastructure. 

Published each year since 2002, the aim of State of the Nation is to stimulate debate and to highlight the actions the ICE believes are needed to improve the delivery of the UK’s infrastructure networks and associated services.

The State of the Nation reports are compiled by panels of experts drawn from within the ICE’s membership and externally from across infrastructure sectors.

They are issued to a wide range of stakeholders, including politicians; civil servants; local authorities; trade, regulatory, professional and consumer bodies; and the media.

Past State of the Nation reports have focused on such topics as:

  • Defending critical infrastructure
  • Waste and resource management
  • Digital transformation
  • Competitiveness
  • Infrastructure investment
  • Connecting infrastructure with housing
  • Targeting net-zero
  • Climate change
  • Productivity

State of the Nation 2022: improving infrastructure productivity

This year's topic is on improving infrastructure productivity, a key theme for ICE President Ed McCann's presidency.

ICE believes that how infrastructure is delivered throughout its lifecycle will improve the sector’s productivity.

Our aim is to produce a toolkit backed by best practice case studies to transform infrastructure productivity – while delivering carbon reduction goals.

State of the Nation 2022: Improving infrastructure productivity

Content type: Final report

Last updated: October 2022

Authors: ICE knowledge team

How to thrive in the 21st century

Follow Ed McCann as he talks to other key players on how to thrive.

Previous State of the Nation reports

Below are resources and information for the most recent State of the Nation reports.

2021’s ICE State of the Nation report called on civil engineers to own their responsibility to reduce infrastructure’s carbon footprint and use their influence to bring about real change.

Shaping Zero

Shaping Zero featured a cast of famous faces arguing passionately for the urgent need to act on climate change. Experts interviewed included world-renowned explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change Lord Deben, former UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd, former ICE President Sir John Armitt, the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti and the Mayor of Stockholm Anna König Jerimyr, Eden Project Founder Sir Tim Smit and several industry experts.

All the experts featured agreed that climate change is the most urgent issue that civil engineers need to tackle and that the wider public needs civil engineers to make that significant difference in the years ahead.

In a first for ICE, Rachels address was delivered virtually with over 2,000 people joining live across the world. It broke all records for the largest group of ICE members and supporters ever assembled at one time in ICE’s 202-year history. To date, the recorded address has been viewed by tens of thousands of people - and the numbers continue to climb.

Net-zero carbon is a primary focus for the ICE for the year ahead, especially given the run-up to COP26, and we will be releasing a series of short films over the coming year to feature projects and areas of best practice in the UK and internationally that can help us towards net-zero.


VIDEO: Shaping Zero - The film

State of the Nation 2022: Six ways for civil engineers to act on climate change

Content type: Final report

Last updated: October 2021

Authors: ICE knowledge team

2020’s ICE State of the Nation report focused on needed policy changes and the role of the UK’s infrastructure sector in achieving the net-zero target.

State of the Nation 2020: infrastructure and the 2050 net zero target: final report

Content type: Final report

Last updated: July 2020

Authors: ICE knowledge team

2019’s ICE State of the Nation report called for a reform of the way infrastructure and housing are delivered, ensuring a more strategic and aligned approach, is necessary if the government is to deliver on its housebuilding programme.

State of the Nation 2019: connecting infrastructure with housing

Content type: Final report

Last updated: September 2019

Authors: ICE knowledge team

2018’s ICE State of the Nation report explored opportunities to improve the flow of investment and examines funding mechanisms to ensure that affordable infrastructure is viable long into the future.

State of the Nation 2018: infrastructure investment

Content type: Final report

Last updated: October 2018

Authors: ICE knowledge team

Contact us

If you want to find out more about the ICE's State of the Nation work, please contact us