Industry figures have called for swift action to turn major infrastructure schemes backed in chancellor George Osborne’s Budget into reality.
More from: Budget 2016 | Detailed plans for HS3 by 2018
Osborne today announced almost £300M for transport schemes in the North, including development of High Speed 3, along with £80M to progress Crossrail 2 in London.
Crossrail 2 moves forward
The civils industry hailed the government’s vision but called for more concrete action.
Civil Engineering Contractors Association chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “Having provided a pipeline of forward investment, Ceca welcomes steps the government has taken to start planning for the infrastructure the country will need in the second half of this decade.
“However, we would like to see more details on the proposed timetables of new work, and to ensure schemes announced in this Budget – as well as those yet to be brought forward from previous Budgets – are delivered without delay.”
Institution of Civil Engineers director-general Nick Baveystock said: “The confirmed financial backing for vital transport projects in the North is excellent news.
“The next step should be to underpin this commitment with an integrated plan embracing a mix of ambitious, transformational projects alongside smaller scale investments.
“If the plan can be developed swiftly, it will maintain confidence in the vision and enable the benefits to be felt sooner. Similarly, the funds allocated to develop the case for Crossrail 2 are welcome, but this should move forward at a good pace so the hybrid Bill can be submitted in Parliament.”
Interim chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Andrew Adonis said: “The National Infrastructure Commission was established to transform the way we plan and deliver major infrastructure projects. I am glad that the government has accepted our first three reports.
“Putting HS3 at the heart of a new High Speed North can help bring our great northern cities together and fire growth, and Crossrail 2 is vital to keep more than 10M Londoners moving in the 2030s.”
Arcadis managing director for infrastructure Mac Alghita said: “It is clear that the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission have significantly influenced this Budget and the industry should continue to support and provide advice to the commission as it takes more responsibility for defining the future of transport infrastructure in the country.
“The chancellor’s allocation for Crossrail ensures that the scheme remains alive, and provides the perfect opportunity for refinements over the next 12 months to improve the benefit:cost ratio. This may involve refining the scope to reduce the point estimate for the scheme as well as evolving the way we currently evaluate the impact of significant infrastructure.
“For the scheme to progress towards construction it may be necessary for the new mayor to attract more private funding to demonstrate that London is picking up the lions’ share of the cost.”
Turner & Townsend UK head of infrastructure Patricia Moore said: “We’re relieved at the chancellor’s progressive steps to make infrastructure a priority, putting it firmly at the heart of fiscal planning for the long-term.
“Future spending on transport projects such as HS3; a new tunnel between Manchester and Sheffield; and upgrades to the M62 and main A66 and A69 roads will all help stimulate and reinvigorate the economy in the North providing a much-needed boost to jobs and trade.”
Budget 2016 | Industry plea for action on big schemes