National and local planning policies must be aligned around a common sustainability agenda for both housing and infrastructure, according to a report published today by the National Engineering Policy Centre, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The report, which was delivered in partnership with the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, says that the planning system must be demystified and stakeholders empowered in order to unlock the potential benefits for society.

Read the report here

The current housing crisis provides a real opportunity for change in both the quality of living places and the scale of housing delivery in the UK, says the report, but the complexity of the housing problem demands a systemic approach. It is estimated that the UK needs 300,000 new properties a year to meet current demand, with one million homes projected for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc corridor alone.[1] Together with the imperative of a legal target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the urgent requirement for more housing can be used to drive policy changes that will make the places where we live, work and play more sustainable. This can be done if the social, environmental and governance issues between planning, housing and infrastructure are better understood and people have the knowledge and tools to collaborate in finding workable solutions.

Illustration mapping out the housing system

Using a participatory systems approach, engineers and professionals representing the multiple disciplines across the system of housing, planning and infrastructure, worked together to develop a shared understanding of the current system of the process. Engineers worked in collaboration with economists, planners, sociologists and community leaders to provide an independent, big picture view of the whole process. Together they created a detailed map that captured challenges and identified opportunities for change. The report identifies key elements of the system and how they impact and interconnect with one another, and pinpoints areas where change can be most effective.

The key leverage points for positive change include:

  1. Encouraging the development of a sustainability agenda to support progress towards the target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions to catalyse a coherent cross-government plan for housing, infrastructure and placemaking. This agenda would call for better integration between national and local planning policies for delivering places. At a local level, it would mean that development frameworks and local plans are aligned with this national sustainability agenda.
  2. Facilitating support for local planning and better masterplanning to enable planning across local authority boundaries as well as efforts to level up by addressing regional disparities in productivity and access to social infrastructure.
  3. Providing a flexible funding model to enable holistic business cases for place that can be administered nationally or locally. These would account for factors that enable high-quality developments, meet demands for public services and actively engage residents in delivering places.
  4. Providing technical and financial support to planners in local authorities to address internal barriers to delivery. This includes resources for increasing the number of staff and providing technical and administrative capacity for existing staff.
  5. Harnessing the power of data sharing to improve access to information about the planning process. This would include platforms for digital collaboration that can enable meaningful interaction and communicate the value of high-quality development to existing communities as well as empower those who are unable to access the planning process.

Tim Chapman FREng, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Director at Arup and Chair of the Sustainable Living Places Working Group, said:

“While there are no ‘silver bullets’ to solve the UK’s housing crisis, we hope this report inspires a shared understanding and brings together multiple disciplines and views to tackle the complex system-of-systems of planning, housing and infrastructure. The report shows how a cross-sectoral effort to work with government can succeed in embedding low carbon modes of transport and utilities into place-making and enable real progress in reducing carbon emissions.”

Notes for Editors

About the National Engineering Policy Centre

We are a unified voice for 43 professional engineering organisations, representing 450,000 engineers, a partnership led by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

We give policymakers a single route to advice from across the engineering profession.

We inform and respond to policy issues of national importance, for the benefit of society.

The Royal Academy of Engineering

The Royal Academy of Engineering is harnessing the power of engineering to build a sustainable society and an inclusive economy that works for everyone.

In collaboration with our Fellows and partners, we’re growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, and influencing policy and engaging the public.

Together we’re working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.

For more information please contact: Victoria Runcie at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 0207 766 0620; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

[1] NIC. Partnering for Prosperity: A new deal for the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc. 2017;1–91. Available from:

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel shared a video in channel. 10 hours 7 minutes ago

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher and Gavin |...

#VirtualCoffee with David Gallagher and Gavin | 3rd Aug

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page