Infrastructure investment in ports and coastal cities would help to mitigate Brexit’s impact on the economy, the RTPI says in its response to a National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) consultation.
Invest in our exporting hubs
Responding to the NIC’s interim National Infrastructure Assessment, the RTPI argues that border activities in ports are likely to be on a greater scale after Brexit and urges the Commission to “recognise the potential of ports and coastal cities as exporting hubs”.
Protecting key access routes to ports, investing in road-rail-port interchanges to meet demand for storage and freight distribution, and making provision for goods storage in inland areas near ports are important, it says.
Cost-benefit analysis flawed
The Institute also advises the Commission to improve the current cost-benefit analysis used to assess infrastructure projects, citing its neglect of the negative impacts of transport investments among its flaws.
Decisions to “improve” the accessibility of places can lead to scattered and ad-hoc settlement patterns, increased car use and congestion. This can be avoided by assessing the impact of infrastructure in a more holistic way, evaluating the impact it has on the distribution of housing, employment and travel patterns at the city-region scale and over the long-term, the RTPI says.
Infrastructure needs to tackle regional inequality
The RTPI praises the NIC’s work on the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor, which recognised the critical need for strategic planning. It now calls on the Commission to adopt a similarly dynamic approach to assessing the need for infrastructure across the country, evaluating projects on their ability to reduce regional inequalities and unlock transformative growth. This needs to account for the fact that many rural areas and towns are starting from a low infrastructure baseline.
James Harris, RTPI Policy and Networks Manager, said:
“The way infrastructure is currently assessed is inadequate if we want to reduce regional inequalities and unlock high levels of growth. In post-Brexit Britain we will need infrastructure to work harder to ensure we meet our biggest challenges – housing, regional inequality and climate change.”
Read our full response here.