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What is on at Civils ‘09

Civils 2009 is set to be bigger and more action packed than ever. Top industry experts will be debating our energy needs and giving updates to major schemes such as the Severn Barrage and Crossrail.

This year Civils event is set to be even more agenda setting and action packed than ever, including a two day conference programme crammed with the industry’s most important figures. And the whole thing is free.

The Civilisation Congress considers three key themes in its presentations and workshops − cities and regeneration, transport and the low carbon economy. From policy discussion to major project updates and from planning schemes to fi nancing them, the conference programme has something for everyone.

“We will be discussing new nuclear power projects. There is also the issue of the new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) and its success in delivering planning consents.”

Simon Harrison, Mott MacDonald

Mott MacDonald energy director Simon Harrison is taking part in a panel discussion on debating new investment in nuclear power. “We will be discussing the conditions necessary for investors to go ahead with new nuclear power projects from understanding carbon price certainty, to dealing with waste, costs and safety issues.

“There is also the issue of the new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) and its success in delivering planning consents,” he says.

But Harrison expects that a number of other energy-related topics will also come up during the event including progress on the UK’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions. The government has set a goal of a 34% reduction on 1990 levels by 2020. There are also plans for increasing renewable energy generation by 15% by the same date.

“Which way will the market go? What projects will this turn into? We could see more gas fired power plants, and probably a lot of offshore wind. Will the large projections for off shore wind be delivered? Are we going with carbon capture and storage (CCS), and what about nuclear? And that’s not to mention the impact on power networks. Investment is £200bn to £250bn by 2025 so there is a huge amount to discuss,” says Harrison.

Issues debated and explored

What is not covered by the conference will be covered in the forums taking place alongside it. Experts will debate issues affecting major road and rail projects and explore issues relating to energy and sustainability from the carbon reduction technologies to tidal power.

The government is currently considering its position on tidal energy and is using its consultation on the Severn Estuary to inform its decision making. The 14m tidal range of the estuary makes it an ideal location for a renewable energy project but the Department for Energy and Climate Change wants a full review of the pros and cons before committing to anything.

“Which way will the market go? What projects will this turn into? We could see more gas fired power plants, and probably a lot of offshore wind. There is a huge amount to discuss.”

Simon Harrison, Mott MacDonald

Consultant Parsons Brinckerhoff has completed the first phase of the Severn Tidal Power assessment, which went out to public consultation in January and is currently working on phase two. Director of strategic consulting Peter Kydd will be giving a presentation on the scheme at the conference. “We want to give people the opportunity to understand what the study has produced in phase one,” he says.

A feasibility study is now underway as part of phase two. “The whole objective of the feasibility study is to enable ministers to make policy decisions on tidal power.”

The Severn Tidal Power project is not the only major scheme to be discussed at Civils. Crossrail programme director Andy Mitchell will be giving an update on the project and Network Rail major projects director Simon Kirby will be talking about the organisation’s major rail schemes. Greater London Authority director of transport policy Kulveer Ranger will also be revealing how the capital is co-ordinating the big digs scheduled for London. On a larger scale still, shadow transport minister Stephen Hammond will be outlining the Conservative Party’s 100 year transport vision. Learning more from major clients and policymakers are two of the benefits of attending Civils. Networking is also a key part of the event.

From debating issues at the conference to meeting and greeting at the exhibition stands, visitors have traditionally made the most of the opportunities to meet colleagues at the event. New products and technologies will also be on display at the exhibition stands.

  • To book yourself a free ticket visit and pre register. For more information on the event contact Rob Lozowski on 0207 728 4513 or email


Delivering schools for the future

Alongside the UK’s largest civil engineering event is a Learning Spaces Live, a conference and exhibition specifically targeting the education sector.

Education stakeholders and the construction industry are coming together at the event to share their knowledge, expertise and experience as between them they seek to deliver the £55bn Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.

A report specially commissioned for the event and produced by industry analyst Glenigan, shows that the value of building projects starts in the education sector has doubled year on year to almost £1bn. Glenigan economics director Allan Wilen says: “The government has shifted its education focus from refurbishment to providing ‘modern learning environments’ through the BSF scheme. Forty two schools were completed in the previous financial year and 115 are due to open by the end of this, as well as 200 more by 2011/12.”

Meeting the timetable

This means that construction must speed up to meet the government’s timetable. Glennigan found that 14% more projects began in 2008 than in 2007 and forecasts growth of 12-14% in 2010. This is not surprising considering that each of the 3,500 secondary schools in England is set to be rebuilt or refurbished by 2020, local authorities and headteachers have an enormous challenge on their hands. The scale of which was recently outlined by the National Audit Office which found that the programme, which began in 2005, has been more time consuming, and more expensive than originally envisaged.

But four years into the programme best practice is now being demonstrated. BSF programme managing body Partnership for Schools (PfS) will be actively participating in Learning Spaces Live and chief executive of PfS Tim Byles, will be headlining the conference. According to the National Audit Office report: “PfS has exercised effective control over the overall scope, flow and cost of the programme in a way that could not be done by individual local authorities.”

As a result PfS has been given the additional responsibility of managing the primary schools building programme worth £1.9bn until 2011 plus a range of other capital investment responsibilities. This sees power being transferred to the organisation from the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

Managing challenges

Together with other key presenters such as BSF programme director for Coventry City Council Mark Fenton and London Borough of Wandsworth BSF project director Bruce Glockling, Byles will lead delegates through how to prepare and manage the challenges the programme involves.

The first day of the event will lead delegates through preparing their school transformation programme from business case to the change strategy. Day two will concentrate on procurement including the bidding process and uses case studies to demonstrate how mechanisms like competitive dialogue work in practice.

The show will also feature seminar areas related to key BSF topics where event partners will offer key insights and thought leadership expertise. With every UK local authority already, or about to become, involved in the BSF process, Learning Spaces Live promises to offer practical solutions to the challenges currently faced by stakeholders in education.

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