Contractors sought for £11M scheme in Aberdeenshire; Environment Agency sounds new flood warning; Crossrail marks progress
5pm: A group of business leaders has called for the controversial High Speed 2 scheme to be extended to Liverpool.
Campaign group 20 Miles More wrote an open letter stating the importance of including a link to the Merseyside city in the £43bn scheme.
“Liverpool is the largest city in the North and Midlands without a dedicated link or station on HS2,” said the letter. “With the £1.8bn SuperPort expansion, it will also be the UK’s only West Coast port equipped to handle the new generation of Post-Panamax ocean carriers.
“Without a direct link to HS2 the potential of this investment will be jeopardised with rapidly increasing passenger and freight traffic having to share an already congested Victorian railway.”
Members of the group include Mersey Maritime Group chief executive Jim Teasdale; Guy Wallis, co-founder of law firm DWF; and the University of Liverpool’s Professor Ian Wray.
3.45pm: Wakefield’s new station opened
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has officially opened Wakefield Westgate’s new train station during a tour of multi-million pound infrastructure projects being rolled out across West Yorkshire.
The new £8.6M station was the centrepiece of his visit to the region, which also included stops in Leeds and Pudsey to discuss how government investment is improving transport links for passengers. He also viewed work to reduce congestion on the A647 between Leeds and Bradford.
3pm: Severe flood warnings remain as further flooding expected
The Environment Agency has warned that severe flood warnings remain in force for along the River Severn today, as high sea levels and heavy rain threaten to cause further flooding this week.
Tomorrow and Wednesday high sea levels combined with strong winds and large waves will increase the risk of coastal flooding along the south west and southern coasts.
Parts of Somerset are at continued risk of river flooding and groundwater flooding poses an ongoing risk across southern counties.
Following the wettest January on record in some places, the Agency said further heavy rainfall this week could cause river flooding in much of the south west and southern England. The River Severn in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, the Frome and Avon in Dorset, the River Thames and its tributaries in Oxfordshire, West Berkshire, Reading, Slough and Hampshire and the Medway in Kent could all be affected.
Agency teams are out in force, deploying demountable defences, deploying sandbags along riverbanks, clearing river blockages, monitoring water levels, and sending out flood warnings. The pumping operation on the Somerset Levels continues around the clock, with up to 2.9 million tonnes of water being pumped off the Levels every day.
As of 12pm there were two severe flood warnings, 91 flood warnings and 208 flood alerts in place across England and Wales. The severe flood warnings are in place along the River Severn.
2pm: New platform opened at Gatwick Airport
Transport minister Baroness Kramer formally opened Platform 7 and its associated facilities today, marking the culmination of more than £80M investment in the Brighton line over the New Year.
Network Rail completed the building work over Christmas, while signalling equipment was renewed at London Victoria, and rails replaced at Stoats Next Junction, near Purley. Despite the difficult weather conditions, the projects were delivered on time and on budget and mark a crucial stage in improving the railway in Sussex.
10.30am: Three severe flood warnings were in place this morning with large waves and heavy rain expected throughout this week.
The South Cornwall Coast, and two areas of the River Severn near Gloucester, were classified by the Environment Agency as carrying a danger to life.
More than 100 areas were placed on flood alert, meaning immediate action is required.
Environment Agency flood risk manager Kate Marks said yesterday: “Further wind and waves along the coast as well as another band of heavy rain this week could lead to further flooding throughout this week, especially in the south of England. We would urge people to again stay away from coastlines and tidal areas and not drive through flood water.”
9.30am: Transport Scotland is seeking contractors to design, build and maintain a 1.5km replacement section of the A96 in Aberdeenshire.
The work, including provision of a ghost island priority junction, a road-over-rail bridge and an agricultural underpass, will be worth up to £11M.
Four firms are expected to be shortlisted and invited to tender for the scheme.
Contractors have until 13 March to register their interest, which can be done here.