26 June 2014 - UK infrastructure neglected
UK infrastructure neglected and at risk from climate change, engineers warn
Fiona Harvey (The Guardian)
Vital parts of UK infrastructure are being neglected, with potentially severe impacts on national competitiveness and quality of life, according to a new study by engineers.
Energy networks, transport, waste and water are all at risk, while flood defences are falling well behind where they need to be. This is happening while future risks to these essential national services are intensifying, as more extreme weather under climate change is likely to bring more floods, droughts, fiercer storms and other more unpredictable weather that are likely to bring more serious challenges to infrastructure than have been faced in the past.
The report by the Institution of Civil Engineers produced a UK-wide score-card grading key aspects of infrastructure according to whether it was fit for purpose, required attention or was at risk. The organisation has carried out such "state of the nation" reports annually since 2000.
The engineers urged ministers to start tackling the problems, in order to safeguard the UK's economic competitiveness, which relies heavily on having reliable national infrastructure. Hundreds of billions of pounds are likely to be needed in investment in the next decade, much of it in energy.
Nathalie Thomas (The Telegraph)
Sewage, drainage and potholes. Dirty, smelly, unsexy stuff and hardly the kind of topics that incite fiery debate in the Palace of Westminster in the same way as, say, High Speed 2 or other “glamorous” infrastructure projects.
Let’s be honest. There is very little political mileage in standing up and fighting for fewer potholes on Britain’s roads. It’s as far from headline-grabbing as you can get and yet, my goodness, you know about it when that kind of ordinary, day-to-day infrastructure fails and you end up with a hefty repair bill from the garage.
Cracked roads, overflowing drains and waterlogged railway tracks following heavy rain are all infuriatingly common features of life in Britain, and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has bad news for us all: it is only going to get worse over the next few decades.
Mark Hansford (New Civil Engineer)
Its State of the Nation: Infrastructure 2014 report grades the UK’s transport, energy, flood, waste and water networks from A to E.
No sector scores higher than B - meaning “adequate for now” - and the local transport, flood management and energy sectors are highlighted as areas of concern.
The report gives low grades to transport, flood management and energy, citing:
- a narrowing gap between energy supply capacity and energy demand
- inadequate flood resilience due to spending cuts
- declining local roads maintenance, also a result of public spending cuts.
The water, waste and strategic transport sectors also need to be future proofed so they can deliver the transition to a low carbon economy and meet the needs of society and the environment, says the ICE.
Gwyn Topham (The Guardian)
Britons should not expect key services to work constantly in future, engineers have warned, as the nation's infrastructure struggles to cope with the increasing number of extreme weather events.
The Institution of Civil Engineers said immediate attention and significant investment is required to maintain energy networks, flood defences and waste systems. It said local transport is substandard and particularly at risk, and that the "unsexy" business of maintenance risked being neglected in favour of new projects.
In its State of the Nation: Infrastructure 2014 report, the ICE said climate change would make it increasingly difficult to run transport and power networks fully in all weather conditions, and the public should be primed to expect more failures.
The report, based on hundreds of interviews and submissions from leading professionals in industry and government, said the resilience of infrastructure was a major concern. The engineers pointed to the narrowing gap between energy supply and demand, vulnerability to flooding and a decline in the maintenance of local roads and flood defences after cuts.
Pour citer cette ressource :
"26 June 2014 - UK infrastructure neglected", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), juin 2014. Consulté le 02/10/2023. URL: http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2014/26-june-2014-uk-infrastructure-neglected