30 September 2020

IOM3 supports National Engineering Policy Centre's Spending Review Submission

The government’s Spending Review should include support for innovation, especially to achieve the aims of net zero emissions, resilient infrastructure and nationwide digitalisation, according to recommendations published by the National Engineering Policy Centre (NEPC) today and signed by IOM3.

The UK should aim to be not just a science superpower, but a science, engineering and innovation superpower, enabling it to deliver the maximum economic and social returns from its investment in science.

In a joint paper compiled by the NEPC, over 40 engineering organisations representing more than 450,000 UK engineers recommend that government invests in its proposed actions to help decarbonise the economy, and create a national workforce planning strategy to create jobs and spread opportunities more evenly across the nation. It says the UK could position itself as a market leader in low carbon technologies but achieving net zero carbon emissions depends on a resilient infrastructure system – the net zero and resilience agendas must be achieved together.

The 2020 Spending Review is one of the most important in a generation, coming at a time when the UK is in recession and the impact of the pandemic has increased inequality. Careful and considered decisions must be made now about physical and digital infrastructure in order to drive economic recovery and provide skilled jobs. The paper calls for long-term evidence-based infrastructure needs to be addressed, with individual regions being given the freedom to create infrastructure strategies. It also recommends building world-class digital connectivity and infrastructure that is fast, secure and resilient enough for an advanced digital economy.

Key actions for government recommended by the paper include:

  • Net zero – Support difficult to decarbonise sectors in their transition to a low-carbon and resource-efficient world, accelerating efforts w here the UK can pioneer sustainable industries and accelerate technology development, such as alternative fuels for aviation and demonstrating low-carbon technologies in maritime transport.
  • Education & Skills – Address the long-term UK skills challenges across all sectors through the creation of a national workforce planning strategy. Support this with a new evidence-based STEM education strategy to address issues such as chronic shortages of physics, mathematics, computing and technology teachers and diversity challenges in STEM subjects.
  • Infrastructure – Incentivise offsite manufacturing for new projects and low-carbon retrofitting for existing buildings to improve efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Innovation – Make the UK more attractive for businesses to invest in R&D here through funding mechanisms and joint ventures between government and industry and increase Innovate UK's budget and freedom on how they spend it.
  • Energy – Invest, at the scale needed to trigger transformational change, in low carbon heat technologies, carbon capture, usage and storage, low-carbon hydrogen production and nuclear generation capacity.

You can download the NEPC letter to the Chancellor below.

IOM3 and the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) have together submitted written representation on the HM Treasury Comprehensive Spending Review 2020.

NEPC letter to Chancellor September 2020 - final 29 Sept v3.pdf


Engineering a resilient and sustainable future report


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