The latest on ICE's second UK infrastructure assessment consultation

Rounding up the latest policy and political engagement activities from ICE.

ICE Policy and Public Affairs manages the institution
ICE Policy and Public Affairs manages the institution's relationship with politicians and civil servants. Image credit: ICE
  • Updated: 17 August, 2021
  • Author: Joanna Gonet, ICE Lead Public Affairs Manager 

ICE Policy and Public Affairs recently launched a discussion paper and consultation on what should be in the second National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA). The work progresses the institution’s aims to influence infrastructure policy at a systems level.

This autumn, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) will publish its baseline assessment of the current state of key infrastructure sectors, along with proposals for the strategic themes and main priorities of the second NIA expected in 2023.

Having been closely involved in both the establishment of the NIC in 2013 and the first NIA in 2018, our consultation asks what the core considerations of NIA2 should be – including net-zero, levelling-up and climate resilience – and explores which demand drivers have changed since the first NIA.

Through this paper, we’re seeking to shape the wider infrastructure policy debate, consistently and over a number of years, by examining what our long-term infrastructure should look like – and most importantly, ensure it delivers the sustainable future outcomes we need it to. Look out for more updates later this year on ICE’s work in this area.


Just as the House rose for summer recess, our APPG Infrastructure welcomed Sir Peter Hendy CBE to update on the progress of his Union Connectivity Review (UCR); APPGI Chair Andrew Jones MP subsequently shared his thoughts on the highly topical debate around transport connectivity across the UK here,  and you can read ICE’s own evidence to the UCR here.

What ICE Policy and Public Affairs has achieved so far in 2021

Being recognised and referenced in policy debates

We’ve secured references to ICE’s work in the following documents:

Supporting the scrutiny and development of infrastructure policy

We’ve twice this year put forward an expert witness, ICE Fellow Jonathan Spruce, to give evidence to the Transport Select Committee – in March on its inquiry into the delivery and appraisal of major transport projects and again in June to its inquiry into smart motorways.

ICE President Rachel Skinner also provided a private briefing on infrastructure and transport to members of the new House of Lords Built Environment Committee.

Supporting senior politicians to test their thinking on infrastructure policy

John Penrose, Rachel Maclean (top), Dr Alan Whitehead, Chris Heaton-Harris, and Jesse Norman (bottom). Image credit: Richard Townshend, David Woolfall, Chris McAndrew

We’ve virtually hosted the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jesse Norman MP, as part of our APPG Infrastructure to share his priorities for 2021, and again this month at one of our Presidential Breakfasts to discuss the government’s forthcoming update to the Transforming Infrastructure Performance programme.

We also hosted decision-makers on key political issues, such as levelling-up with John Penrose MP, Chair of the Conservative Policy Forum, discussion of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan with Transport Minister Rachel Maclean MP, and infrastructure’s role in driving the post-pandemic economic recovery with Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP.

Meanwhile, Dr Alan Whitehead MP led a discussion on how the UK's electricity system can be improved to help transition to net-zero.

The role of ICE's Policy and Public Affairs

As a public benefit charity, ICE has a responsibility to help policymakers make better decisions and legislation. Every decision on the evolution of the infrastructure system comes back to a political decision – either one that’s already made or one that needs to be made.

ICE manages its approach to this through the work of its Policy and Public Affairs team.

Public affairs describes an organisation’s relationship with a wide range of stakeholders, politicians and civil servants being key ones. We engage with these stakeholders because we want to explain ICE’s policies and views on important issues, like how we pay for infrastructure, or how we build infrastructure that better meets people’s needs.

What exactly are we hoping to achieve?

We want to help engineers deliver infrastructure systems that underpin the creation of a more sustainable world.

The overarching aim of ICE Policy and Public Affairs is to influence infrastructure policy at a systems level. Two significant ICE policy papers embody this aim:

How do we know we’re getting anywhere?

Infrastructure is seen as a driver of socio-economic growth by decision-makers across the political divide, and across administrations. ICE Policy and Public Affairs supports the best decisions being made in the public's interest and we judge success in three ways.

We are making progress if ICE’s expertise and insight is:

  1. Recognised and referenced in infrastructure policy debates.
  2. Sought for scrutinising and developing infrastructure policy.
  3. Able to support senior politicians test their thinking on infrastructure policy.

We will keep members updated on our key activities against these objectives in this blog.

Sign up to ICE Informs to get a monthly digest of the latest policy activities from ICE, including calls for evidence to support our ongoing advice to policymakers.