August 26 2015

Government papers outline future of infrastructure

The Government Office for Science has published two papers which examine the future of infrastructure development, an action which is helping the industry develop in terms of sustainability.

The first paper, Future Materials in Cities, explores the challenges which are proposed through the need to use low-carbon and sustainable materials where possible. A factor that remains at the forefront of importance for those working in the water industry or other areas of infrastructure, the paper says that the increased use of materials which are crucial for low-carbon developments will expose cities to a monumental shortage in material supply.

Exploring a move towards green infrastructure

The second paper, Cities, green infrastructure and health, explores exactly how the move towards a green infrastructure could help to support and encourage a healthy lifestyle. It says the development of a green infrastructure is more than just raising the environmental profile of single industries, but instead collaborating them all to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services. Examples of this include sustainable drainage systems, parks and green spaces.

According to the paper there are still a number of barriers which are stopping the uptake of green infrastructure, the greatest of which is the fact that there is no statutory duty on local authorities to protect or maintain their green infrastructure assets. As well as this, the paper says green infrastructure is still not an equal priority in relation to other forms of infrastructure, something which has to change in order for infrastructure support services  to develop in the future. The concept of a natural environment is still – according to the paper – seen as ‘nice to have’ as opposed to being a necessity. Because of this, it is therefore being seen as a lower priority compared to other infrastructure aspects.

Finally, the paper suggests that there is a failure to plan in the long term and also a distinct lack of interest in planning strategy, a mind-set which needs to change in order for the industry to develop in terms of green infrastructure in the years to come.

Read the Future Materials in Cities report here.

Read the Cities, green infrastructure and health report here.

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