Highways in the UK

Communications on major infrastructure failing MPs survey finds

In October, we commissioned YouGov to poll a representative sample of 100 Members of Parliament on what they thought about engagement on major infrastructure projects.

Around half of MPs say the government and other promoters of major infrastructure have failed to communicate the importance of major infrastructure programmes to the public, our new poll has found.

And 40 per cent of Conservative MPs believe communication has been “ineffective” in engaging the public in vital projects from nationwide full-fibre broadband to transport for regional cities.

The exclusive poll comes in the wake of the Prime Minister’s 10 point green plan and the government’s recently unveiled National Infrastructure Strategy.

The poll also highlighted:

  • Over 75% of MPs saying that more information would reduce public concerns.
  • 20% of MPs believe people understand the benefits of infrastructure projects.
  • 37% of MPs believed the public did not understand the benefits.

Ally Kennedy, Board Director at BECG said,

Our poll shows that there has been a collapse in confidence among MPs of all parties on engagement with the public in major infrastructure projects.

The positive in all this for promoters of infrastructure is the key finding that the vast majority of MPs feel improved communication will help to reduce public concerns.

Meeting this challenge is crucial if the government is to restore public confidence and support for these projects, and to achieve its policy of ‘levelling up’ the country post-Covid and post-Brexit.

The government’s National Infrastructure Strategy, responds to several recommended targets for the UK, including:

  • for half of the UK’s power to be sourced from renewables by 2030;
  • £43 billion of stable long-term transport funding for regional cities;
  • Nationwide full-fibre broadband by 2023; and
  • infrastructure to support close to 100% of new electric vehicles sales by 2030.

BECG has a track record of success for effective communications on some of the biggest and most innovative infrastructure projects in the UK, across a broad range of sectors. This is underpinned by our integrated approach to communications – including high quality, innovative design, film, and our Built to Engage suite of digital solutions – and a proven ability to drive public engagement on complex projects.

We are helping our clients to connect with their stakeholders and communities with an industry-leading solution to digital consultation that is cited as best practice by the National Infrastructure Planning Association (NIPA).

You can download the full set of poll results here.