Transport for London (TfL) has announced its shortlist of companies bidding to run Crossrail services.
17:02: Carillion lands banker to head up engineering team
Carillion has poached Goldman Sachs man Euan Burns to head up the newly created role of chief engineer.
Burns, who was previously executive director of Goldman Sachs’ corporate services division, will now head up Carillion’s Engineering Centre of Excellence team.
Carillion managing director of commercial energy and engineering, Phil Shepley, said: “Euan’s appointment is a key part of our strategy to strengthen our engineering offering for our customers.
“Euan’s appointment is a key part of our strategy to strengthen our engineering offering for our customers,” Shepley added.
14:42: UK version of bridge design competition guidelines unveiled
The International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE) has launched the UK version of its guidelines for bridge competitions.
Unveiled at a seminar at the Institution of Structural Engineers’ headquarters in London on Friday, IABSE chair, Naeem Hussain, told delegates that the guide was primarily intended for clients:
“It is a framework explaining how to procure bridge projects successfully through design competitions. It is not a dictat. it is adaptable; a best practice guide” Hussain said.
The seminar heard from Cezary Bednarski of Studio Bednarski, who over 20 years had won 10 design competitions, only to see three realised. He recounted one “surreal” Iranian competition which after many months ‘died a death’. After many more months, Bednarski received a note telling him there was a package from the competition organiser waiting at the post office.
“It was a very tightly rolled Iranian rug,” explained Bednarski. “I had to pay £80 duty but I found out later it was £350 worth of rug; so that’s not too bad.”
The tone of the seminar was brought back to heel by Hussain who said: “If you want serious design competitions there needs to be a fully audited process with properly written rules.”
“If we are spending public money, let’s spend it wisely,” added Hussain.
12:27pm: Road group delivers ‘good news/bad news’ verdict on government road building policies
The RAC Foundation has warned that new Department for Transport (DfT) rules will make it impossible to judge the value of proposed road schemes until they are actually being built.
In a new report the motoring lobby group said it was ‘worrying’ that the DfT “…no longer makes publically available benefit/cost ratios for projects before they have been rubber-stamped.”
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “It is a real concern that benefit/cost ratios are now only published when schemes are given the go-ahead and contracts have been signed, by which time it is too late for the public to assess the value of these projects.”
But there was positive news too for the government as the RACF welcomed its commitment to road building. In November 2011 the Foundation had warned that there were 96 major road schemes with a cost of just under £11 billion waiting for the green light.
But 18 months on, the RACF said a third of those schemes had now been approved including nine Highways Agency schemes for the Strategic Road Network.
Development work is also underway on a further six ‘pipeline’ schemes and 23 of the 35 major local authority schemes on the list have also received funding.
Glaister said: “Credit where credit is due. After our 2011 report government have given the green light to a lot of important, high-profile road schemes.
“Going forward the critical thing is money,” Glaister added, “we are still to hear the results of the greatly anticipated and much delayed feasibility study into road funding, but for all the talk of tolling and road pricing if ministers really wanted to rebuild trust between government and drivers a good way to start would be to spend a bigger share of the £33 billion collected in VED and fuel duty each year on infrastructure.”
12pm: The Environment Agency has launched a consultation for the proposed £3.5M Leigh flood scheme.
The scheme is part of a larger government investment in flood protection for West and East Leigh. It will involve the refurbishment of Bedford Pumping Station.
When completed, the work scheme will maintain the existing standard of protection to 670 properties as well as extending it to a further 105.
11.30am: Transport for London (TfL) has announced its shortlist of companies bidding to run Crossrail services.
The firms are expected to be invited to tender in September and appointed at the end of 2014.
“We are a step closer to appointing an operator for Crossrail,” said Crossrail director of operations Howard Smith. “As our population grows faster than forecast, the case for stable and sustained investment in London’s transport network has never been stronger.”
The bidders are:
- Arriva Crossrail Limited
- Keolis/Go Ahead
- MTR Corporation (Crossrail) Limited
- National Express Group PLC
11:17am: New Pedestrian and Cyclist Bridge opened in Staffordshire
Network Rail has completed this new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists at Cannock Chase in Staffordshire.
The bridge, designed by engineer Tony Gee and Partners and installed by civils firm MPB, will allow an old ‘user worked’ crossing at nearby Moors Gorse to be permanently closed; one of more than 700 to have suffered a similar fate across the network in the last three years.
10.46am: Gatwick Rebuffs CAA’s Regulation Proposals
Gatwick Airport’s owner, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), has launched a broadside against the Civil Aviation Authority’s plans for economic regulation of the airport.
In April this year the CAA proposed a “flexible regulatory approach…agreed between Gatwick and their airline customers, underpinned by a licence from the CAA.”
However, a day after GIP released broadly positive end of year figures which showed a 2.5 per cent boost in profits to £227M and an increase in revenues by 4.2 per cent to £539M, the airport’s management company today said it was “disappointed with the CAA’s initial proposals for the regulation of Gatwick Airport.”
The airport claimed that the CAA had not taken into account the “fact that BAA’s South East airport monopoly was broken up”. It added that the introduction of new competition into the sector “was entirely absent from the CAA’s analysis.”
“Paradoxically,” it said, “ the CAA’s reaction to the introduction of greater competition has been to propose an extension of regulation”.
It continued: “The CAA does not recognise the potential benefits of one of the most dramatic competition investigations ever undertaken by the Competition Commission.”
You can read the full response to the CAA’s proposals here
Meanwhile, as well as the increase in pre-tax profits, the end of year report also revealed that the company had so far spent £227M of a £1 billion pot which is to be invested over a five year period.
Chief Executive Stewart Wingate said: “Although economic headwinds have remained strong, Gatwick has delivered stable financial results in line with expectations.
“It has also been a positive year for welcoming new airlines to Gatwick and attracting new links to key growth markets including China, Russia, Indonesia and Turkey, adding to existing routes which have been expanded such as our services to Vietnam,” Wingate added.
10.10am: Crossrail has submitted plans for the construction of offices and retail space in Farringdon.
120,000ft2 (11,148m2) of column-free office space is proposed along with retail units on the ground floor.
“The Lindsay Street scheme offers another significant development for Farringdon, creating high-quality commercial space above the world-class new transport links Crossrail will bring the City of London,” said Crossrail land and property director Ian Lindsay.