Public perceptions of the quality of water and sewerage infrastructure in Great Britain are more positive than for almost all other infrastructure sectors in the country, according to a global survey of public attitudes towards infrastructure published last week by the Global Infrastructure Investor Association (CIIA) and Ipsos MORI.
The survey found 65% of people rated the current quality of British water and sewerage infrastructure as very or fairly good, just 2% behind the leading sector, airports (67%). All other sectors scored lower very/fairly good ratings, as follows:
Housing supply 31%
Flood defences 35%
Local roads 42%
Britain’s water and sewerage infrastructure was also judged to be better than the global (52%) and G8 (57%) average ratings for the sector.
The Global Infrastructure Index 2018 polled nearly 20,000 people across 29 countries to gauge levels of public satisfaction with their country’s existing infrastructure and to find out their priorities for future investment. It found considerable public appetite for more investment in infrastructure. While 73% said that infrastructure was vital to their country’s future economic growth, 59% of people surveyed globally (58% in Britain) said their country wasn’t doing enough to meet future infrastructure requirements.
Other key takeaways from the research highlighted by the GIIA included:
• 61% say not enough is being done to involve the public in infrastructure decisions
• Globally, more people are comfortable with foreign investment in new infrastructure if it means it gets built more quickly than not, by a margin of two and a half to one (49% to 19%).
• Across the world, the public are relatively more positive about sectors where private investment features prominently although there remains room for improvement.
Ben Marshall, research director at Ipsos MORI commented: “Our annual survey underlines people’s strongly held conviction that governments need to do more on infrastructure. People are both pragmatic – saying they are comfortable with foreign investment – and principled – wanting to see a democratic deficit narrowed with people more involved in decision-making.”
Commenting on the findings, Water UK chief executive Michael Roberts, said: “It’s no coincidence that our water and sewerage infrastructure is rated so highly, given that water companies have invested £150 billion on improvements to the industry since privatisation. The plans that companies have put forward for 2020 to 2025 propose an extra £50 billion of investment, which will see infrastructure improved even further as we address the big challenges of the future, such as the pressures caused by climate change and population growth.”