All posts by Alexandra Wynne
The efficiency programme at Network Rail is beginning to yield results but the work is also highlighting what is left to be done.
With political conviction for High Speed 2 (HS2) faltering behind the scenes at Westminster there is a rise in favour of resurrecting plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport.
Tunnels under the Atlantic, High Speed 5 and Apple in charge of the world – all of which are possibilities for the next 40 years as far as civil engineers are concerned.
We’re used to the age old friction between architects and engineers, but in these unrelenting economic doldrums the clash of ideals between what is iconic and what is affordable or appropriate is heightening.
There’s no question that the UK’s lingering economic troubles keep stifling the construction industry but, in the dawn of a global economy, can and should engineering firms be doing more to exploit overseas opportunities?
A flurry of new nuclear announcements last week combined to send out the clear message that the UK is finally set for such developments to actually get built.
In the past fortnight there has been a surge in chatter about the prospects of mega-transport schemes High Speed 2 and the Thames Estuary airport. But still the government faces the question of how to fund these projects while keeping taxpayers happy or, alternatively, how to entice a risk-averse private sector to get on board.
Last week’s revelation that 119 bidders had won cash from the second round of the government’s Regional Growth Funding (RGF) may have given them cause to celebrate but for others it served as a stark reminder that there will be little of the same forthcoming from central government.
As the party conference season drew to a close last week those looking for consistent — and reassuring — infrastructure policy from the main political players were left wanting.
High Speed 2 (HS2) this week seemed to move a step closer to being a done deal but there remain many unanswered questions.
The UK needs to develop a new multi-mode transport hub in the south east to become a global economic powerhouse of the 21st century. At least that was the message last week from a group of engineers and architects who have become the latest to join the lobbyists for a new Thames Estuary transport development.
The game is up for PFI — the public seems reconciled to the idea that it has worked primarily as a handy accounting tool to keep costly major projects off the government’s balance sheet. But are the secondary benefits enough to protect its reputation as the best — or only — procurement method in times of economic crisis?
A major culture change among highway authorities could be the only way to save Britain’s roads from irreversible disrepair. At least that is the latest message to industry from local government spending watchdog Audit Commission.
At a time when the industry is crossing its fingers and hoping to be on the up curve out of the recession, many are still struggling to have faith that good times lay ahead.
Government efforts to stimulate the national economy are translating into plans to promote regeneration and infrastructure projects more locally.
Britain needs to spend £200bn on its infrastructure, and with government budgets tight, it looks as though private finance will have to plug at least some of the gap over the next five years.
Recriminations over the Tube PPP should have died along with the sale of Tube Lines to Transport for London (TfL), but after more than six months blame continues and improvements are hard to spot.
In the final days before Christmas, Treasury body Infrastructure UK (IUK) announced its long-awaited findings of its study into why civils costs are so high.