High profile and often highly controversial, the projects chosen to mark the new millennium have been a welcome shot in the arm for the UK construction industry.
Since the Millennium Commission was set up in February 1994, it has allocated funds of nearly £1.7bn for projects which have lead to the creation of 46,000 jobs. An independent body under the National Lottery Act (1993), the commission is one of the good causes that share 28p of every pound spent on the National Lottery.
The first grants were awarded in September 1995. The funds distributed by the commission represent the largest single non-governmental investment ever made in social and community projects throughout the UK. As well as the 28 major schemes, hundreds of smaller ones have received cash.
Millennium projects must make a substantial contribution to the community. They are in five categories: investing in education, promoting science and technology, revitalising cities, supporting communities and encouraging environmental sustainability.
Geotechnics has played a key role in many of the major projects, not least the Millennium Dome, where massive remediation of the contaminated British Gas site in Greenwich was needed before development could begin.
Over the next few pages, Ground Engineering reviews the important contribution made by the geotechnical industry in the success of some of the major projects.
More information is available on the Millennium Commission web site: www.millennium.gov.uk