ITC 2019 Annual Lecture

How can we better align Housing and Transport policy in Britain?

The 7th ITC Annual Lecture

13 June 2019, University College London

In June 2019 the ITC was delighted to welcome more than 120 supporters and eminent figures from across the transport, planning and land use worlds for our Seventh Annual Lecture. The ITC Lecture series, which was inaugurated in 2013, explores major strategic questions that will affect the future of transport and how we travel.

To open proceedings, the ITC was delighted to welcome Melanie Dawes CB, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, to give an insightful welcome address. Ms Dawes expressed gratitude to the ITC and to the Centre for Transport Studies at UCL for hosting the Lecture, and provided an overview of challenges faced by housing policy makers in Britain.

The first guest lecturer was Professor Tony Travers, Director of LSE London. Professor Travers began by observing that housing, and particularly transport, were fairly low down on the list of national priorities given by the public, and so struggled to get the financial investment they needed. Although attempts had occasionally been made to combine housing and transport departments in central government, they were usually considered separately, even in local authorities. Opportunities should be taken to integrate planning and transport decision making at a city-region level where an understanding of local and regional needs was stronger. A better appreciation of the benefits of joining up these policy areas should be developed.

The second guest Lecturer was Martin Tugwell, the Programme Director of England’s Economic Partnership. Mr Tugwell began by explaining the importance of joined-up policy making to deliver places of high quality and to boost the economy. Disruptive technological change would need to be anticipated, he argued, when planning new infrastructure. Local decision makers were often more knowledgable about infrastructure issues, he pointed out, and the political environment in local authorities was often more stable. Vision-led planning would be helpful for establishing a clear sense of the correct aims and objectives for infrastructure policy makers in each area.

A question and answer followed with the expert audience which was chaired by ITC Chairman Terry Hill CBE. The discussion covered a range of related topics, from the importance of giving more powers to local government to make policy to the need to ensure new housing developments had sustainable transport access.

The ITC would like to thank our corporate members whose support made the Lecture possible.