State of the nation report speech
I would like to thank the Institution of Civil Engineers for its latest ‘State of the Nation report’. I welcome the report and the opportunity to engage with an organization as distinguished as yours. With a global membership of over eighty thousand and roots going back to the early 19th century the ICE has a wealth of expertise at its disposal and so as Transport Minister I’m pleased that this expertise has been deployed at looking at the key infrastructure opportunities and the challenges we face today.
Transport is crucial to everything we do; getting food to the shops, products to market, people to jobs. When transport slows everything slows and when it stops everything stops so good transport is essential to drive sustainable economic growth, prosperity for all and to make Britain a great place to live.
Transport is central to the coalition strategy to growth, helping UK businesses to be more productive, rebalancing our economy and enabling the UK to compete in the global race. That’s why we have invested in transport infrastructure in all parts of our country from targeted improvements to our networks, transformation investments for future generations.
We also recognize that we face challenges many of which as civil engineers the ICE members will be grappling with today and in the future; how to meet rising demand for mobility, how to reduce costs whilst improving services, how to mitigate the impact of transport, how to embrace technological change and how to expand networks whilst also making them more efficient?
Government cannot overcome challenges alone. We need to continue our discussion with industry, academics and wider society to secure that the transport infrastructure that the UK needs and deserves. The ICE ‘State of the nation’ report is an informed and useful contribution to this on going debate.