Planning and collaboration - the future for sustainable cities

We were delighted that the Infrastructure and Project Authority's Development Director Karl Fitzgerald joined architects RSHP, Greater Cambridge Planning, the London boroughs of Camden and Lewisham, and energy investor and asset manager Amber Infrastructure in our continuing series of debates around energy and sustainability in the run up to COP 26.

This debate focused on the announcement of the new 'Great British Railways' authority and the potential benefit for the development of rail infrastructure in the UK; how France is developing urban infrastructure sustainability as a comparison to the UK; how the model of communication between central and local government will need to evolve around future infrastructure and Net Zero and whether the growth of combined authorities will help roll out regional and rural green infrastructure effectively.

Karl Fitzgerald of I&PA spoke on the value of the new Great British Railways:

'There are opportunities in there and we do need to be focused on the whole of the rail system and how that gets us to Net Zero. Culturally, the first movements out of lockdown have meant that people have shied away from public transport, staying in their cars. Studies on long term effects show that it will be a long time before people go back to taking the bus or train depending on their living and working patterns. We are in a foggy environment in this but over the last year energy levels have been down to 1998 levels which is good.

''The relationship between East West Rail and the new rail body will be an interesting one. Procurement services will be unique with the new body. Driving investment will be crucial. Insistence on 'building back better' is a confident message and is exa