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Spending review should be used to build resilient communities

Words: Laura Edgar
Empower / Shutterstock_1017266830

The government should empower local authorities and local economic partnerships (LEPs) to lead the redesign of the built environment through the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).

This includes embedding post-coronavirus resilience into communities. 

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has set out its views in its submission to the Treasury regarding the forthcoming CSR.

ACE, which represents the large and small firms that design, deliver and operate national infrastructure, has also called for strategic infrastructure investments to bolster society’s economic, climate and social resilience.

Chief executive Hannah Vickers, said: “This year has brought into sharp relief the need for a more flexible and resilient society and the CSR is a great opportunity to embed this thinking across government. We have put forward practical ideas to build resilience – whether helping communities adapt to changing post-Covid needs, meeting the climate challenges of net-zero through tangible proposals, or helping the built environment play its part in wider economic recovery.”

To improve social resilience, ACE advocates for local authorities and LEPs being given a “bolstered role” as the leaders of regeneration. This can be achieved through the use of imaginative planning and design reforms that encourage flexible, multi-use local infrastructure as well as housing. 

It also wants to see progress on several transport schemes including, Northern Powerhouse Rail, to connect communities to opportunity.

On net-zero, ACE highlights the need to invest in hydrogen as an energy source and carbon capture storage technology in Teesside, Humber and the North West.

In addition, ACE calls for the design and development phases of projects in the pipeline to be brought forward to fast-track economic activity. 

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