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NCE Live News Updates: Thursday 13 March: Old Oak Common metropolis moves closer

London mayor Boris Johnson’s plans to create 24,000 new homes and more than 55,000 jobs at Old Oak Common move a step closer.

2pm: Leading technology entrepreneur Hermann Hauser is to outline how the government’s network of elite technology and innovation centres can be fully exploited to benefit the economy in the long-term.

Commissioned by business secretary Vince Cable and science and universities Minister David Willetts, Hauser will look at how to build on the progress already made and maximise the benefits from any possible expansion of the Catapult network.

Cable made the announcement during the official opening of the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult’s offices in Glasgow. This brings the number of Catapult centres to seven.

By combining the existing knowledge in the offshore renewable sector with new resources, the ORE Catapult aims to drive innovation and ensure maximum UK benefit from offshore renewable energy resources. A report commissioned by the ORE Catapult estimates this could be worth up to £6.7bn per year to the UK economy by 2020.

12pm update: Ambitious plans to transform one of the most deprived parts of London into a thriving new district with up to 24,000 new homes and more than 55,000 jobs have moved a step closer.

Deputy mayor for planning Sir Edward Lister has announced that City Hall is about to enter detailed negotiations with three local authorities for the creation of a Mayoral Development Corporation (MDCto drive the comprehensive regeneration of a 80ha semi-industrial site at Old Oak Common, West London.

The Mayor’s team will shortly meet with Hammersmith & Fulham, Brent and Ealing councils to agree these details so that the MDC can best maximise the enormous benefits that are linked to the construction of the High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail superhub station that is due to be constructed by 2026.

Lister made the announcement at the Mipim property fair in Cannes today. The announcement follows Johnson’s keynote speech at the same event earlier this week.

11am: Civils contractors today gave their backing to a report by an influential committee of MPs that calls for the creation of a ‘flying squad’ to streamline the procurement of major infrastructure projects.

The Commons communities and local government committee’s report states that councils in England could save up to £1.8bn if they procured more effectively.

Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Ceca) external affairs director Alasdair Reisner said: “Our members have reported that while some procurement by some councils is first rate, many local authorities lack the resources or capability to deliver effective procurement of large infrastructure schemes. Typically this leads projects to be delayed, piling up the cost of bidding for contractors.

“In its evidence to the Committee last year Ceca proposed the creation of a procurement “flying squad” to help local authorities procure major infrastructure projects. We are delighted that this recommendation has been endorsed by today’s report.”

Ceca also urged councils to be bolder in their willingness to engage early with the supply chain, rather than taking the view that such contact would breach European Union law. Today’s report recommends that the UK needs to tackle an “over-zealous” application of EU guidelines, and calls on the government to spell out a proportionate approach that both meets EU guidelines and streamlines procurement.

The report also calls for local authorities to adopt a common approach to pre-qualification, something that Ceca has championed for many years.

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