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Contractors World UK & Ireland
2012 Vol 2 No 5   
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“Time to End Boom-And-Bust Roads Investment” - P CHildsConstruction News - Economics - Business - Regulations

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Rapid progress needed on City Deals

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has called for prompt implementation of works under the new ‘City Deals’ announced in order to head off a crisis in the infrastructure sector.

Eight of England’s biggest cities - Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield - have made agreements that could unlock up to £8.2 billion in infrastructure spending, and create 170,000 jobs over the next two decades.

Commenting, CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said: “This is welcome news at a time when the infrastructure sector in particular is suffering. Any move by government that unlocks funding to support project delivery is to be applauded.

“Last year CECA worked with representatives from across the construction sector to identify barriers that were blocking progress in the delivery of new and improved infrastructure. This research found that funding was the main factor that prevented new work being unlocked.

“We have therefore been pressing for the development of new funding models for infrastructure that will deliver the new infrastructure the country needs while releasing new activity for the industry. But there is no time to waste. Our current research suggests that the industry is on the edge of a new downturn. Without rapid action the sector faces a bleak future.

“We therefore hope to see quick movement forward under the City Deals, allowing the industry to get to work delivering the vital infrastructure that will support a return to growth in the UK economy.”


“Time to End Boom-And-Bust Roads Investment”

Industry must work with government to make the case for long-term funding for roads investment, according to the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA).

CECA was reacting to today’s publication of the government’s response to A Fresh Start for the Strategic Road Network, Highways Agency non-executive chairman Alan Cook’s report on the future of the UK’s motorways and trunk roads.

In the response, transport secretary Justine Greening held back from agreeing to Mr Cook’s recommendation that the Department for Transport should provide full five-year spending commitments for roads investment as a means of driving greater efficiency savings. The recommendation had received strong support, recognising the significant improvements contractors can deliver in situations where there is a clear and committed long-term programme of investment.

The government has instead opted to carry out further work to understand the benefits of greater funding certainty, as part of an ongoing feasibility study looking at the future ownership and management of the roads network.

Commenting, CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said: “We recognise that the current feasibility study may lead to considerable change in the way that our motorways and trunk roads are managed.

“It is therefore sensible to leave any final decision on funding certainty until a decision has been made on the way that the network will be managed in future. However, we believe that the case for long-term funding certainty is strong, and we will be working with other representatives from industry to provide evidence of this to the feasibility study team.”

CECA welcomed other commitments made by the government in its response, including the development of a long-term strategy for the roads network, and the creation of performance specification for the network based on outcomes desired by motorists and the wider public.

However it also warned that reform to the way the strategic roads network is run needs to be carefully managed to ensure that the change process does not lead to delays in the delivery of the Highways Agency’s existing programme of works.



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