Message from the editor | Issue 09 | April 15

With the UK’s most unpredictable General Election in decades almost upon us, the question remains whether or not the increasingly rosy infrastructure sector should start to worry?

For on the one hand we continue to see unprecedented levels of cross party support for the £466bn National Infrastructure Plan, major schemes such as HS2 and for devolved powers to drive investment into areas such as the “Northern Powerhouse”.

And we see long term spending plans being rolled out across the highways sector, the rail industry, power, water and communications as the clear link between investment and economic growth is driven home.

"The only real option for the infrastructure sector is to build on the last five years’ success and focus on delivery."

Yet on the other hand there is no question in anyone’s minds that the post-Election economy will be tough and getting tougher. Not least across the public sector where the scale of cuts will be harsh.

Add to that the very real possibility that we will not emerge on 8 May with a single party government and instead see weeks of protracted horse-trading over power and the future does look somewhat uncertain.

Faced with these prospects, the only real option for the infrastructure sector is to build on the last five years’ success and focus on delivery.

Looking back, one of the greatest changes - even successes perhaps - seen over this recent period is the shift towards whole life thinking around the UK infrastructure needs.

As we explain in Infrastructure Intelligence this month, there is a revolution going on in strategic roads, in the way that cities such as London are attempting to break down silo thinking to find investable solutions and in the way the public and private sectors are cooperating.

All good news but there is much to do. Key schemes such as HS2, Thames Tideway and the long-awaited A303 Stonehenge tunnel will require discussion with the voting public to a level rarely seen before.

And with next winter identified as the most critical for the power generation sector in terms of keeping the lights on, infrastructure may not yet be a doorstep issue but certainly looks set to command political attention.

Antony Oliver is the editor of Infrastructure Intelligence 

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