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NCE Live News Updates Tuesday 8 October: Fresh warning over HS2 costs

Treasury Committee describes “serious shortcomings” in justification for scheme.

2.30pm: The ICE has joined with national standards body BSI to help engineers with Eurocodes.

The government recently amended the Building Regulations Approved Document A on structural safety to reference the standards known as Eurocodes.

BSI and the ICE aim to allow engineers to make a cohesive transition to Eurocodes, sharing knowledge and best practice developments.

Mike Chrimes, director of engineering policy and innovation at the ICE, said: “The goal of the partnership is to accelerate familiarisation, minimise the impact on productivity and reduce the cost implications of the transition to Eurocodes.”


2pm: Nijhuis Water Technology has bought West Country based H2OK Water and Energy.

The Dutch firm said the deal fitted with its strategy of establishing a local presence in emerging markets.

H2OK offers anaerobic digestion and effluent treatment to the food and drink and leisure markets, as well as providing flood risk services.

Tim Cunliffe, managing director of the West Country firm, said: “Two years ago we set-up a joint venture structure and the acquisition is a natural follow-up on the strategic cooperation between both our companies”.


12.30pm: A consultation over the £1.5bn A14 upgrade scheme closes this week.

The Highways Agency is encouraging people to have their say on the plans, which include a 19km bypass around Huntingdon, before Sunday.

It is hoped work on the scheme will get underway in late 2016, with completion by the end of this decade.

The consultation can be viewed here.


12.15pm: Hull-headquartered Spencer Group has secured its third contract on the city’s iconic Humber Bridge.

The firm will carry out a £3.9M project to replace four solid steel A-frames that connect the main-span bridge deck to the towers at either end.

It follows deals to project manage an inspection of the suspension cables in 2009 and carry out main cable dehumidification work in 2010.

The latest project will be carried out in cramped areas below the carriageway over the course of 12 months.


12pm: MPs have warned the Government not to water down the UK’s long-term climate change targets.

The Environmental Audit Committee said existing targets represented the minimum required to avoid a dangerous 2°C temperature rise.

It said the UK was falling behind in attempts to meet carbon budgets for the five-year periods to 2022 and 2027, with the latter target set to be reviewed by the government next year.

Committee chairman Joan Walley said: “Given that emissions are currently not falling fast enough to prevent a dangerous destabilisation of the global climate in the coming decades, it would be incredibly short-sighted to slacken our carbon budgets now.”


11.30am: Plans for a second tram line through Manchester city centre have been given ministerial approval.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin and communities secretary Eric Pickles granted the permissions required for the Metrolink scheme.

It means Transport for Greater Manchester can finalise arrangements for the project, which will see a larger tram stop in St Peter’s Square and a new stop in Exchange Square.

Councillor Andrew Fender said: “This is fantastic news and means we can now press ahead with developing the detail of the delivery programme, appointing a contractor and getting work started as soon as possible.”


11am: Virgin Rail Group chief operating officer Chris Gibb is to move to Network Rail.

Gibb, 50, will become non-executive director at the body responsible for rail infrastructure across the UK.

It follows a six-month secondment to Network Rail last year, where Gibb led a taskforce focused on improving the performance and reliability of the West Coast Main Line.

Network Rail chairman Richard Parry-Jones said: “Chris brings with him decades of invaluable experience, providing first-hand expertise of the wide range of issues facing train operators and Network Rail as the industry works together delivering a better railway for a better Britain.”


10.30am: Laing O’Rourke’s Australia chief executive David Stewart has stepped down to focus on addressing allegations in the country’s media.

The contractor said Stewart was resigning to deal with reports about business practices at previous employer Leighton Holdings.

Cathal O’Rourke has been appointed managing director of Laing O’Rourke’s Australian business with immediate  effect.

Laing O’Rourke group chief executive Anna Stewart said: “I am grateful to David for taking the tough decision to step down at this time. His action respects the exemplary business values and ethical practices that Laing O’Rourke maintains through its relationships with our clients and stakeholders.”


10am: The Treasury Committee has added to doubts over the justification for the £50bn High Speed 2 project.

The influential panel of MPs said the rail link between London and the North should be formally reassessed by the government.

Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie said: “There appear to be serious shortcomings in the current cost-benefit analysis for HS2… a more convincing economic case for the project is needed.” 

It comes after the Public Accounts Committee questioned the costs and benefits of the scheme earlier this year.


9.30am: The Highways Agency is looking for a contractor to build a multi-span viaduct in Essex.

It has advertised for companies interested in replacing an existing structure over the River Chelmer on the A138.

The £21M scheme will include constructing a 17-span, 400m by 16m composite deck slab viaduct on reinforced concrete support piers.

Contractors have until 13 November to register an interest. More information on the OJEU notice.


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