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News from the UK Civils Industry 15th May 2019

Posted by: Melonie Debenham
Industry News

Calls for planning & infrastructure across UK ports

This month’s Ports Development Conference has heard calls for an increase in planning development and improved infrastructure spend across the industry.

Speaking at the event, Matt Hunt, Port Director at the Port of Sunderland, said that masterplans can fetter the development of ports by making it harder to capitalise on opportunities. He said: “The difficulty with masterplans is that our role changes quite significantly and quite regularly. Commercial opportunities are here today and gone tomorrow, the factors driving investment decisions are out with our control.”

Andrew Clarke, Head of Masterplanning at Associated British Ports (ABP), said that when bringing forward facilities it is a good idea to provide extra space in order to be able to respond to future demands. “When making choices between different investments you are trying not what is most efficient in current circumstances but for future options,” he said.

When discussing infrastructure spend, industry leaders highlighted that poor transport access to the south of England’s ports could result in freight being diverted to less congested part of the country. Ports in the north of England aspire to secure a bigger slice of the market, said British Port Association’s (BPA) Ballantyne: “If congestion in the south gets even worse, operators will start looking at other options.”

Research by the UKMPG estimates £14bn of constrained value exists in the core freight network.

Much could be improved by relatively minor investments such as relieving bottlenecks on key road routes, said BPA’s Ballantyne: “If you look at road transport investment we lag behind our competitors. We have a good road network at 3am but at 3pm it’s significantly different.”

However, DP World’s Orbell warned that building new roads is not the answer to relieving congestion on the existing network. He said that improving the efficiency of the rail freight network would have knock on benefits in terms of reduced congestion on the roads.

Average freight speeds of 35 mph, which understandably will be frustrating for the passenger services that they get caught behind, could be improved: “The rail industry could undertake significant improvements with digital signalling that would speed up the whole network. Digital signalling could improve speeds to 50 to 60 mph. The network gets that much faster and you can get more on the system.” Full stories here & here.

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Tender for £38 million Thames contract

Thames Water has gone out to tender with a framework contract for grounds maintenance services worth an estimated £38 million.

The water company intends to award one or more agreements for services on the grounds maintenance framework via the following Lots:

Lot 1A: Planned General Grounds Maintenance Services and Invasive Weed Control; Thames Valley, South London and North London.
Lot 1B: Planned Tree Works; Thames Valley, South London and North London.
Lot 1C: Reactive Tree Works; Thames Valley, South London and North London.

Thames Water reserves the right to issue multiple or sole awards for each lot of this agreement to achieve the most efficient and economical service solution. This may include splitting lots by regional demarcation, by strategic sites and satellite sites, waste sites, clean sites or for a combination of both waste and clean sites.

The contract includes further options to extend the agreement by 1 year periods up to a maximum duration of 8 years. Time limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate is 23rd May 2019. Full story.

EA launch £7 million beach nourishment scheme

The Environment Agency has launched its Lincolnshire Beach Management (LBM) scheme this week, helping to manage coastal flood risk for 20,000 homes and businesses, and 35,000 hectares of land.

Over the course of the scheme the EA’s contractors will pump 400,000 cubic metres of sand onto Lincolnshire’s beaches. The sand helps protect from coastal flood risk by preventing damage to the sea defences along the coast and reducing the risk of overtopping. The added sand acts as a buffer between the sea and the defences, taking out the brunt of the wave energy, thereby extending the life span of the defences.

Over the next six weeks, beaches at Trusthorpe, Mablethorpe, Ingoldmells, Trunch Lane, Wolla Bank, Chapel Six Marshes and Huttoft will be replenished. The sand that is used to replenish the beaches is dredged from licensed offshore locations by a trailing suction hopper dredger. Twice a day – just before high tide – the dredger moves closer to the beach to pump approximately 5,000 cubic metres of sand onto the beach. The HAM316 dredger that is used for this scheme has the smallest carbon footprint in its class.

Mark Robinson, senior flood risk advisor for the Environment Agency, said: “Our Lincolnshire Beach Management scheme helps us protect thousands of homes and businesses on the Lincolnshire coast. The scheme also offers real value to Lincolnshire’s coastal tourism economy, by maintaining the sandy beaches that are so well-loved by residents and visitors alike.

“While our annual beach nourishment works continue to be very effective, our long-term estimates suggest that it will not be sustainable to continue with just sand as a method of flood risk management in the future due to the impact of climate change. This is why we have worked over a number of years to review our strategy for coastal flood risk management between Saltfleet and Gibraltar Point.” Full story.

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