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Energy and infrastructure priority for new government

Successful energy policy will be one of the defining issues for the next Parliament according to the Construction Products Association (CPA) , which has called on all parties to focus on energy and infrastructure in the lead up to the general election.

CPA Chief Executive Michael Ankers said: ‘If we are to see a sustained economic recovery, a secure long term supply of energy at competitive prices is absolutely essential.

“Each of the main political parties has set out its energy strategy, but there is an urgent need to commit to develop a fully-costed programme for delivery within 12 months of being elected. Unless product manufacturers and suppliers have confidence in the next government’s intent to address this issue, they will not invest in the UK, undermining economic recovery as well as attempts to rebalance the economy through a greater focus on manufacturing and construction.

“There are two sides to the energy equation and one of the most effective ways of securing our long term supply is to ensure that we do not waste the energy we produce. We therefore also want the new government to commit to developing a detailed long term programme for improving the energy efficiency of the existing building stock within the same 12 month period, identifying interim targets and the funding mechanisms needed to achieve this,” he said.

Other areas of concern for the CPA include:

  • To ensure that in this year’s Comprehensive Spending Review the net public sector capital investment does not fall below 2.25% of GDP, in order to help stimulate the economic recovery and provide the social and environmental benefits that derive from improvements in the built environment
  • To develop a long term Infrastructure Plan supported by funding through an Infrastructure Bank to ensure that the UK has a transport infrastructure that helps business maintain competitiveness
  • To improve the mechanisms for ensuring compliance with building regulations, so that we can be more confident that what these regulations seek to achieve is actually delivered

Readers' comments (3)

  • How do you reconcile the requirement for cheap energy/power as a key element within the U.K.'s economic recovery/survival strategy with the ongoing fixation on grossly subsidised and inefficient power sources such as on-shore and off-shore wind turbines.

    Strip out the subsidies in any power costs analysis to obtain meaningful total cost comparisons. Allow also for the typical wind turbine power availability of 25% or less, and the frequent no output/maximum power demand situations means that very significant parallel base load alternative systems are required to be costed into any wind turbine scheme. The significant power losses and additional costs of major new power distribution systems required, particularly for the intended North Sea power collection and distribution systems, is a further total cost element that needs to be allowed for in any power cost analysis. Security, access and maintenance of remote and isolated units is a further hidden cost.

    Scrap these systems - they are bad engineering. An engineer is someone who can design and build something to meet some functional requirement for an unsubsidised 10 shillings that anyone else can do for a £1!

    The smart U.K. engineer is the engineer who can develop not only a cheaper total cost, reliable and secure base line power generation system requiring minimal and hopefully no subsidy, which will provide export orders to meet current increasing world wide power demands and any environmental/climate change demands.

    U.K. R&D funding to meet this objective during the last 10-20 years would have been a more beneficial subsidy for the U.K. economy.

    A continuation of the U.K.'s 1950's leadership in nuclear power generation capability and knowledge with such effective R&D funding away from its nationalised and military based starting point and on a proper total cost basis including designs to minimise de-commissioning costs could have been only one of many identified developments and advantages for the U.K. and U.K. companies.

    As it is subsidies have distorted both the market and our foresight - all to our detriment. Let us at least learn the lessons and not continue to make the same mistakes.

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  • Agreed - An engineer will do what any one [?? it would be wrong to specify other professions ...??] can do in half the time and at half the cost.

    Time that ENGINEERS were put in charge of projects - BUT they MUST understand accounts, and Contract Law ... otherwise we become just techies out of control ....

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  • Agreed on the definition of a true engineer is someone who can half the costs of a project.
    This also falls in line with the NCE editor's campaign of delivering more for less.
    So it is up to ourselves as engineers to be more assertive in presenting real evaluations and true comparison of costs to get the country's infrastructure back on track.

    danny costelloe member

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