Tag Archives: infrastructure

A little more conversation, a lot more action: getting infrastructure right

Centre span of the new Severn Bridge , UKThis post is by Huw Irranca-Davies MP. It first appeared on Labour List.

The infrastructure we use to travel, talk and power our homes and businesses is constantly being renewed and improved. When we get it right, it delivers outcomes that society hugely values such as easier and quicker commuting, allowing people more time to spend with their families, clean, plentiful water supplies and access to affordable energy. The best infrastructure is also future proof and helps to tackle climate change.

But infrastructure can also be a source of huge frustration and contention as debates erupt over new projects and interest groups get pitted against each other. Read more

Don’t take politics out of infrastructure planning

Image courtesy of National RailIf you start talking about infrastructure, few will accuse you of playing to the gallery. The term conjures up images of civil engineers, hard hats and a lot of concrete. Yet the choices we make about infrastructure in the coming years will have profound consequences for the UK’s future, influencing our ability to grow the economy, improve quality of life, protect against flooding and reduce CO2 emissions.

Voices across the political spectrum have highlighted our failure to deliver on infrastructure. Whoever wins the next election, it is likely there will be steps to enhance our ability to deliver major projects. Read more

The return of the politicians to the green economy fray

DSC_4004This post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

For three years business leaders and civil society have led the drive to decarbonise our economy. Politicians have remained almost silent. But this silence may be about to end.

Earlier this month, Ed Balls became the first big political figure to make a headline speech about climate change since the last general election. Though he has been exploring the barriers to low carbon investment behind closed doors for some time, many had come to presume it just wasn’t of interest to a politician at his level. But they were wrong. Why? Read more

Talk is cheap: why the gap between rhetoric and reality in the coalition’s infrastructure policy matters

Untitled2This post by Green Alliance’s chief economist Julian Morgan. It first appeared on the New Statesman economics blog.

Ministers should not be under any illusion that public spending on high carbon projects offers a quick economic fix.

Amid all the headlines about the biggest programme of road building for 40 years and announcements of new support for fracking, you would be forgiven for thinking that the recent Comprehensive Spending Review meant an abandonment of plans to decarbonise Britain’s economy. Thankfully, that’s not what our analysis of the Treasury’s own numbers shows as the plans for upgrading Britain’s infrastructure still remain focussed on public transport and renewable energy. However, there are major contradictions at the heart of the government’s policy, which risk deterring the very private sector investors who are needed to implement many of these projects.

Read more

Why we need low carbon infrastructure, not “shovel ready” zombie roads

Cutting road works with hydraulic driven angle grinderThis post was first published on the New Statesman blog.

After three years of vigorous disagreement the political and economic commentariat seem to have found common ground. Infrastructure. Left and right now agree that it’s vital for the UK’s economic renewal, requires much greater infrastructure investment, and the Chancellor looks set to move it closer to the centre stage in the Budget. Read more

The hidden giants of infrastructure

Sardine School in the SeaThis post first appeared on BusinessGreen.

Industrial strategy hasn’t been fashionable for a long time. Anyone romantic enough to have spent February 14th watching Harold Wilson Night on BBC Parliament will have seen the last moment when industrial strategy took the limelight. This was a moment when ministers decided which industries to help and which to leave to squalor, over a hearty dinner at the CBI – a time when growth was determined purely by how many motorways, airports and gas stations we could cram into our small island. It didn’t end well. In fact, it kicked off the unbalancing tendency of our economy to be carried by consumption over investment which we still haven’t shaken. Read more

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