The UK needs to shift from an old energy infrastructure mentality to a new one.
That’s according to Amy Mount, Senior Policy Advisor at Green Alliance.
Ms Mount, who spoke at a national energy seminar in central London this week called the new approach ‘Infrastructure 2.0’.
She added: “This shift has, as far as I can see, six dimensions to it.
Ms Mount explained the first is to move from a “very short-term planning basis” to long-term which is “more strategic and looks forward 30 years into the future”.
She added the second is a shift from high carbon infrastructure to low carbon “which is sustainable and avoids the lock-in of polluting technology”.
She went on to say the UK has done this to an extent as new coal-fired plants can’t be built unless they are fitted with carbon capture and storage technology however “the challenge for government now is to follow this through” and “phase out existing coal-fired power plants”.
She said the third dimension of the shift is “to move from a very centralised approach of infrastructure decision making to one that is more open to civic input right from the start”.
Ms Mount added a move from “the old-fashioned predict and provide approach” and looking more at “demand management is needed entailing the development and deployment of smarter technology”.
The fifth dimension is moving from an approach which is “largely focused on concrete and tarmac” to one that “links software with hardware in the so-called ‘Internet of Things’”.
Ms Mount added: “Finally we need a holistic view that acknowledges the value of green infrastructure as well as grey. So for example the benefits that wooded slopes have to play in reducing flood risk.”