10 September 2019

Investing in infrastructure is investing in communities

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has released their State of the Nation 2019 report, which focuses on the relationship between housing and economic infrastructure.

Ten recommendations in three categories covering planning, funding and financing, and future-proofing, make the case that more must be done to ensure housing and infrastructure are delivered strategically and jointly.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) welcomes the report which builds a picture of how vital infrastructure is in encouraging housing and why housing attracts investment, but not always the appropriate infrastructure. The report also highlights how different approaches abroad allow local government to influence infrastructure investment and shape best practice.

ICE’s report recognises the value better roads, public transport and amenities have in unlocking housing and presents how development can change lifestyles, for example, through lower energy use and more walking or cycling.

According to the report, the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), which has empowered council’s to unlock opportunities for homeowners, businesses and communities, requires more investment. The NFB agrees that by extending it further and moving to a continuous programme of funding, it will help unlock more strategic housing sites nationwide. Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said:

“ICE have correctly analysed the importance of aligning housing ambition with infrastructure delivery. When we invest in infrastructure, we invest in communities and opportunity.”

Rico Wojtulewicz, head of housing and planning policy at the House Builders Association (HBA), said:

“If councils want to make immediate changes, they must ensure sites within existing communities are enabled in local plans. Unless they do that, the bulk of ICE’s recommendations will be used reactively on failed placemaking, rather than as part of a strategic community vision.”