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News from the UK Civils Industry 17th April 2019

Posted by: Melonie Debenham
Industry News

Call for investment in UK ports

Since 2016, Associated British Ports (ABP) has invested £250 million in new infrastructure and facilities across UK ports. The Port of Southampton has benefitted from major investment in infrastructure, essential to facilitate the expansion of exports by leading manufacturers. The Humber has seen a £50 million infrastructure investment, improving connectivity to Europe and the rest of the world for businesses across the North and Midlands both to Europe and beyond.

However, industry experts are calling for more policy and infrastructure investment in order to boost the nation’s trade and exports.

Government policy is key to creating the right environment to drive investment in ports and enable the nation’s ports to flourish. The current framework for a market-led approach to port development has been successful in attracting private sector investment in new port infrastructure and facilities, avoiding reliance on the public purse.

David Leighton at Prospect Magazine said: “Further opportunities include a free ports policy that can give Britain a competitive edge in attracting inward investment in new manufacturing at port development sites. A free ports policy can achieve this by removing the need to pay duty on imported components and raw materials intended for use in manufacturing, and which remain within secure areas.”

Leighton explains that a free ports policy would enable to the UK to “add to the suite of measures it can deploy to attract investment in that fiercely competitive global environment. In some quarters there is some reticence about such a policy, although reservations appear to be typically based on selected examples, both historical and current; we can use experience of free ports in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world to design a policy that will deliver beneficial effects and which is fit for the 21st century.”

Leighton calls for investment in infrastructure which will “enhance the ability of ports to develop, serving the needs of their customers and the wider economy”. Full story.

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Code of practice to reduce road opening times

The Department for Transport (DfT) have announced plans to update the statutory code of practice to increase the guarantee of road openings from two to five years.

In the Specification for the Reinstatement of Openings in Highways (SROH), any maintenance work carried out on the road network must be reinstated to the prescribed standards, which includes a service life of at least 2 years.

DfT’s new plans will see new asphalt standards will be introduced which will guarantee all repairs have a service life of at least 5 years. The aim of these proposed changes is to keep our roads pothole-free for longer, reduce reinstatement time and decrease the amount of congestion which in turn should lead to improved journey times, reliability and reduced fuel costs.

The reaction to DfT’s plans has certainly been a mixed one with some fully embracing the changes, whilst others have been left unsure. Many highways projects already have a service life of five years and beyond. For example, first time permanent and approved materials removes any uncertainty and worry about the proposed updates, as repairs carried out using this innovative product are already proven to exceed a service life of 5 years.

If DfT’s plans go ahead, more investment will be seen to ensure that future projects use the very best, essential materials needed to ensure a five-year plus service life. Full story.

Global project sparks water innovation revolution

A global initiative to create the utility company of tomorrow has taken a significant step forward as Anglian Water called on more companies from around the world to step up to a new set of challenges.

Speaking on ‘Uninvented Technologies’ at the Global Water Summit in London, Chief Executive Peter Simpson revealed that 114 partners had already delivered 110 projects within the company’s innovation hub. 

Known as the ‘Shop Window’, the project is the innovation powerhouse behind Anglian Water’s ‘Love Every Drop’ strategy. An industry first, it aims is to create the water company of the future, today. It goes beyond trialling and showcasing the latest technology by ensuring a clear path to adoption for successful initiatives. 

Peter Simpson said: “A changing climate and growing populations are driving a need for long term resilience, planning and innovative thinking, and these are challenges the world over. They simply cannot be solved in isolation. No one organisation has the ability or the resource to solve these complex issues alone and there is a need to innovate both openly and collaboratively. We welcome any supplier or partner to come and talk to us about what we could achieve together.” Full story.

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