Digital infrastructure5G & MobileBrexit will harm UK infrastructure improvements, say industry professionals

Brexit will harm UK infrastructure improvements, say industry professionals

Digital and energy seen as priority sectors for investment over roads and air capacity

New research has revealed that a majority of sector professionals think Brexit will make it harder to deliver infrastructure improvements to the UK’s transport, energy and digital networks.

Six in ten (59%) people involved in planning and delivering infrastructure projects across the UK think that leaving the EU will make it harder to deliver improvements to the nation’s infrastructure, according to exclusive new research from the team behind the Public Sector Show and National Infrastructure Forum.

The findings are based on a survey of over 200 professionals from across the public and private sectors, conducted by the National Infrastructure Forum – part of the Public Sector Show – in association with Burges Salmon, exploring the views of the country’s major building priorities for the coming years.

When it comes to infrastructure spending priorities, almost three times as many people (75%) chose digital (5G/full fibre broadband) compared to air capacity (27%), while seven in ten (72%) opted for energy over just four in ten (40%) favouring the nation’s roads.

With the UK’s impending departure from the EU casting uncertainty over the future, half (49%) of those surveyed called for clearer direction from central government as key to improving the nation’s infrastructure. A similar proportion (44%) called for more attention to be paid to projects outside London, with innovation, skills and better collaboration between sectors also identified as priorities.

Shaping the agenda

These findings, and others from the report, will be used to develop the agenda for the third annual National Infrastructure Forum which, for the first time, will be held as part of the Public Sector Show.

Bringing together over 2,000 senior budget-holders and decision-makers, attendees will be able to hear from over 140 leading speakers, including Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport; Philip Graham, Chief Executive of the National Infrastructure Commission; Dr Jennifer Schooling, Director of the Centre for Smart Infrastructure, University of Cambridge; and John Holland-Kaye, Chief Executive of Heathrow Airport.

Dr Jennifer Schooling, Director of the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction at the University of Cambridge, said: “Digitalisation of our civil infrastructure offers huge opportunity for us to improve the way we design, make and operate our vital infrastructure lifelines. This is a key area for both government and industry to invest.”

Corby Ganesh, Portfolio Director of the Public Sector Show 2018, said:“Building and improving infrastructure is vital if we want the UK to grow and thrive after leaving the EU, however the view from the specialists is that Brexit will cause challenges. This year’s Public Sector Show, incorporating the National Infrastructure Forum, will provide an opportunity for the public and private sector to get together, discuss priorities, and come up with innovative solutions to ensure we deliver important projects such as railways, roads, homes and broadband.”

The Public Sector Show, incorporating the National Infrastructure Forum, will take place at ExCel London on Tuesday 26th June and is free to attend for those working in the public sector. Find out more and register here.

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