An expert forum to explore how to involve the whole country in setting our long-term infrastructure priorities.
100Vision has been closely involved with the development of Sir John Armitt’s proposals to improve UK infrastructure decision-making and has supported the communications and engagement around the visionary plans.
Making decisions together as a country about the infrastructure vital to future growth and quality of life in the UK has been at the heart of Sir John Armitt’s proposals to create a National Infrastructure Commission.
The primary task of the Commission would be to carry out a detailed assessment of the UK’s infrastructure needs, looking 25-30 years ahead, and set our national priorities. This national conversation is a founding principle in the current Draft Infrastructure Bill and implementation plans. 100Vision is supporting Sir John to begin developing the detail of how this approach would work in practice.
100Vision proposed and organised, with Pinsent Masons, for Sir John to host an expert forum for a selection of the best minds in the British communications and engagement business to guide the formation of a strategy to help us all make decisions on UK infrastructure needs together. Experts from across industry, Government, NGOs, think-tanks and trades unions gathered on Wednesday 4 March 2015 to discuss and share ideas which are highlighted and compiled here for discussion, along with further contributions and ideas.
Sparks, thoughts & ideas after the expert forum
The 100Vision contributions [in full here] to the Draft Infrastructure Bill have focused on the participation of the public and politicians in the work of the proposed National Infrastructure Commission, setting new standards in openness and transparency and the need to raise awareness of infrastructure in general.
The 100Vision ideas for the National Infrastructure Commission include:
- A national awareness campaign on what infrastructure is and why it needs improving
- Having sustaining and improving quality of life its founding goal alongside economic growth
- Moving to and being based in a different part of the UK every 5 years
- Enshrining the full involvement of people and politicians in long-term infrastructure decision-making as a founding principle.
- Regularly challenging, innovating and renewing its approach to engagement
- Generating debate and being open to challenge and ideas, including through the creation of a national infrastructure data resource, open to all
- A clear, published engagement timetable, process, milestones and objectives
- Guiding and monitoring engagement carried out on specific sector and infrastructure project plans that flow from the Commission’s national priorities and acting as a central source of information
- Becoming embedded in UK public and political life
- Setting high standards in governance, culture and behaviour
The John Muir Trust recommends that the remit for a National Infrastructure Commission should include a spatial plan for green infrastructure. This would create a national ecological network, built at a local level, which identifies irreplaceable landscapes to be protected and degraded habitats that require restoration. “The outcome would be links in the landscape between woodlands, meadows, rivers, allotments, orchards, etc for the benefit of nature, to which the wellbeing of people is inextricably bound.”
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Tim Marshall from the Department of Planning at Oxford Brookes makes the case for proper public engagement in long term infrastructure planning and supports the new engagement bodies proposed by the Green Alliance in its recent ‘opening up infrastructure planning’ report. Marshall also suggests “We should start learning from what other countries have done, even though we will have to find a distinct UK / English way to organise the big discussions (macro deliberation as academics call it) needed on these matters” .
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