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News from the UK Civils Industry 27th February 2019

Posted by: Melonie Debenham
Industry News

£50m Flood Alleviation Scheme – February Update

Late last year we reported on the progress of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme when Leeds City Council submitted proposals for Phase 2 of the initiative. The Council and their partners at the Environment Agency have this month released an update for Otley, where the majority of the work is taking place. The update sheds light on Phase 1 progress and what we can expect from Phase 2.

“The primary objective of the project is to reduce flood risk to properties effected by the floods of December 2015,” explains the update. “Throughout the development of a scheme to reduce flood risk in Otley we are working to ensure that there is no additional flood risk created elsewhere within the catchment.”
The project team is holding a series of drop-in events this week to update residents, but at Navartis we’ve digested some of the key points and detailed them below.
The update reports that the hydraulic model for Otley is now complete. The team have modelled over 30 scenarios for reducing flood risk. A short list of options has been developed and is now being analysed to determine the best scheme for Otley. Construction of the preferred option is expected to commence in autumn 2019.
Other key points in the update include:
  • Environmental assessments have examined: Ecological Impact, Water Framework, River Habitat and Arboriculture Impact.
  • Landscape architects and ecologists have supported the engineering team to maximise the amenity value and ecological enhancements delivered by the scheme.
  • A contractor has been engaged to support the development of the scheme and provide guidance on potential works in the construction phase and costs.
  • The Economic Appraisal is nearing completion, this appraisal will be used to support the Outline Business Case.
  • Structures, geotechnical, drainage, highways, and utilities assessments have been completed, these disciplines will continue to feed into the preferred option design.

Looking forward, the update has outlined the next steps:

  • Finalising the outline design of the preferred option
  • Submission of the Outline Business Case
  • Submission of the Planning Application
  • Development of the detailed design of the scheme

Navartis Business Manager and Civils Recruitment Specialist Melonie Debenham commented: “It’s great to see the government investing in flood defence on such a large scale. The team at Navartis have extensive experience placing senior professionals into similar projects and we look forward to continuing our involvement moving forward.” Full story.

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Reassurances amidst Brexit fears

As the Brexit deadline looms a no-deal outcome has not been definitively taken off the table, prompting fears about what such an outcome could mean to the UK industries. 

A survey conducted by workforce management specialist Biosite revealed today that 27% of companies’ workforce was made up of more than half non-British EU migrants and that 71% of companies would struggle to operate without EU workers. Of course, this is only cause for concern if EU workers are limited by a Brexit deal, which is still unknown. If this is the case however, there are fears that there are not enough domestic workers to fill the gaps. 

Despite worries, some feel that a loss of EU workers may benefit the domestic industry in the long-run. Many contractors were optimistic and highlighted that the threats to the industry will also bring opportunities.

One contractor commented: “Brexit will force the country, and particularly the construction industry, to invest in, create and promote apprenticeship programmes and decent vocational training schemes for young people.”

Experts at The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) even predicted that more than 168,000 will be created over the next five years, despite Brexit. The training body’s annual Construction Skills Network (CSN) report anticipates average annual industry growth of 1.3% until 2023.

Steve Radley, Policy Director at CITB, said: “Assuming that a deal is agreed, we expect low but positive growth for construction. This will see the number of construction jobs increase over the next five years, creating growing opportunities for careers in construction and increasing the importance of tackling the skills pressures we face.” Full stories here & here.

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