UK Major Projects Pipeline Update

UK Major Projects Pipeline Update

In the year since our last major projects update, the UK infrastructure pipeline has shown real resilience and adaptability in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

The organisations and people involved in major projects across the country have rallied in order to keep these programmes on track and safe for everyone involved.

A lot has changed since our last report. Let’s take a look at where the UK’s biggest projects are now…



As per the government’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP), published earlier this week, it has been confirmed that the proposed HS2 line to Leeds will not go ahead.

HS2 East will run direct from central Nottingham to Birmingham in 26 minutes, and from central Nottingham to London in 57 minutes. HS2 will also run from London to Sheffield in 1 hour 27 minutes

HS2 West will run from London to Manchester in 1 hour 11 minutes and from Birmingham to Manchester in 41 to 51 minutes.

Aside from the IRP, the first two of ten TBM’s that will work on HS2 began their 10-mile journey through the Chilterns back in May. They have now completed just over 1.5 miles between them and are ahead of schedule.

HS2 Ltd has started to release tenders for Phase One and 2a rail systems packages. This will continue over the next 2 years with the shortlisted bidders.

The Euston Station design has officially been scaled back to a, “less complex, more efficient 10-platform design, which can be built in a single-stage, and can still support the full operation of the HS2 network,”

Phase 2a is taking the next steps for the £500million development partner contract, which will see the successful bidder partner with HS2 Ltd to lead the design and delivery of the 36-mile Phase 2a route.

The shortlisted bidders are:

  • 2 Connect JV – AECOM Limited / Costain Integrated Services Limited
  • AMS JV – Atkins Limited / Mace Consult Limited / SYSTRA Limited
  • Jacobs U.K. Limited.

Northern Powerhouse

The much-anticipated IRP was finally published this week, which at last, provides some clarity on the future of NPR and how it will link up with HS2.

The government have selected the first of the options put forward by Transport for the North (TfN) in 2019, a mixture of newbuild high-speed and upgraded conventional line. Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will connect Leeds and Manchester in 33 minutes, down from 55 minutes now.

Crossrail 1

Whitechapel became the seventh of nine stations to be handed over to TfL earlier this year, and a schedule to wind-up Tier 1 contractor involvement at the seven most advanced stations is already in place.

Main work contractors will remain on site at Canary Wharf beyond the end of the year, with work to complete the troubled Bond Street station already taken in-house.

Trial running has been taking place since May. The next phase for Crossrail will be Trial Operations, which involves testing more than 150 real-time scenarios to ensure the readiness of the railway for the general public.

Mark Wild has confirmed that this is on target to start this month, with the line being fully operational in the first half of 2022.

East West Rail

The East West Railway Company (EWR Co) brought in Arcadis as commercial partner, responsible for commercial management and cost planning, as well as procuring and administering contracts.

Arcadis will work closely with Jacobs after they were appointed as programme partner earlier this summer.

However, the organisation was left disappointed by the governments lack of clarity in the budget on whether the full route will be funded. The project aims to have services operating between Oxford and Milton Keynes by 2025, the subsequent stage would see trains run from Oxford to Bedford. The final stage would see services operate to Cambridge.

Network Rail CP7

Procurement for CP7 has just started, with delivery of civils and building work in Network Rail’s Kent, Sussex and Wessex routes moving to a longer-term partnership approach. Their Southern Integrated Delivery (SID) is based on Project 13 principles – an ICE-led initiative that aims to improve productivity in delivery and provide better value for money through an enterprise model.

Network Rail has valued the civils and building lot at £4.3bn.

Also out for procurement under the same model is a £1bn electrification and plant SID contract for the London and South East region, which will also cover CP7 and CP8.



Thames Water has confirmed the final contractors for its AMP7 programme to deliver the clean and wastewater projects:

  • Lot 3 – Non-Infrastructure – Galliford Try and MWH Treatment (London).
  • Lot 4 – Non-Infrastructure – Interserve and Mott Macdonald Bentley (Thames Valley).
  • Lot 5 – Infrastructure – J Murphy and Barhale Ltd (London – North).
  • Lot 6 – Infrastructure – Morrison Utility Service and Galliford Try (London – South).
  • Lot 7 – Infrastructure – Morrison Utility Service and Mott Macdonald Bentley (Thames Valley).

United Utilities are continuing with the Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme (HARP) with construction expected to begin in 2023. The PQQ for contractors will be out in Q1 of next year.

Ofwat has set aside £500million to allow water companies to explore a series of schemes to help maintain supplies in future decades. One of these schemes includes the Thames Water Abingdon reservoir which will be going to public consultation.

Thames Tideway

Tideway have now built around 20km of the 25km super sewer and are around 65% complete.

In May, Construction reached a major milestone following the excavation of a 60m deep shaft at the King Edward Memorial Park site in Wapping. The shaft is the deepest and the last of 21 shafts to be excavated.

Construction is on track to be completed by 2025.


Lower Thames Crossing

National Highways had planned to submit a new application later this year to restart the consent process, after it pulled its original plans late last year. However, it has now said that an application will not go in until 2022.

At the request of Thurrock Council, the new plans will take in to consideration the future growth of the Port of Tilbury.

Despite setbacks, National Highways have continued with procurement. The following construction and engineering companies have been shortlisted for the main works contracts:

Kent Roads (Lot 1):

  • BFV JV; comprising of BAM Nuttall Limited, Ferrovial Construction (UK) Ltd and VINCI Construction Grands Projets.
  • Costain Limited.
  • Kier Eiffage (KEJV); comprising of Kier Highways Limited and Eiffage Génie Civil.Skanska Construction UK Limited.

Roads North of the Thames (Lot 2):

  • Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering Ltd.
  • Kier Eiffage (KEJV); comprising of Kier Highways Limited and Eiffage Génie Civil.

Tunnels and approaches:

  • BFV JV; comprising BAM Nuttall Ltd, Ferrovial Construction (UK) Ltd and VINCI Construction Grands Projets, supported by Atkins Ltd, Tecnica y Proyectos SA (TYPSA) and Stantec UK Limited.
  • Bouygues Murphy Joint Venture (BMJV); comprising Bouygues Travaux Publics S.A.S. and J Murphy & Sons Ltd, supported by Mott McDonald Ltd and Ove Arup and Partners Ltd.
  • Dragados-Hochtief Joint Venture (DH JV); comprising Dragados S.A. and HOCHTIEF Infrastructure Gmbh.

Smart Motorways

There has been lots of controversy surrounding Smart Motorways and the future of the scheme is unclear. The Commons’ Transport Select Committee recently said there was not enough safety and economic data to justify continuing with the plans, DfT responded that this would be taken under consideration.


Like several of the major transport schemes, the future of the £1.7bn tunnel by Stonehenge was left uncertain following the recent budget announcement.

The lack of mention of the Stonehenge Tunnel or wider A303 upgrade has led to speculation that the scheme has been pushed back.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is understood to still be considering his options in relation to the Stonehenge scheme, after a High Court judge deemed the original development consent order to be unlawful.

However, work started on site for the dualling of the Sparkford to Ilchester section of the A303 in September this year and the A358 Taunton to Southfields (part of the same corridor) went to public consultation on the preferred route this month and it’s funded to go to DCO decision.


Hinkley Point C

Five years after getting the go-ahead, the number of people across Britain working on the Hinkley Point C power station has reached 22,000.

Despite setbacks caused by the pandemic, Hinkley has reached several milestones:

  • The next prefabricated 17m high section of the first reactor building is complete and ready to be lifted into place.
  • Work to build the 16m high floor for the first turbine and generator is under way, ready for the world’s most powerful “Arabelle” turbine which arrives later this year. Each turbine can produce more than 3% of the nation’s electricity, enough for more than 3m homes.
  • The country’s first “T-pylons” have been installed for the station’s 35-mile grid connection.

Other Nuclear

  • Following the publication of the government’s Net Zero Strategy, the future of the UK’s nuclear power production has become somewhat clearer.
  • The government reiterated its commitment to investing in one more large scale nuclear power plant and The Net Zero Strategy implies that the Sizewell C development is currently favoured by the government.
  • The strategy adds that the Wylfa site is being considered alongside other sites for the development of small modular reactor (SMR) technologies.
  • The Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model will be used to fund new nuclear projects.

Offshore Wind

Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 continues to progress and, the six proposed offshore wind projects are currently undergoing environmental assessments.

  • RWE Renewables – two sites at Dogger Bank each with the potential to produce 1500 MW.
  • Green Investment Group / Total – a site off the Lincolnshire Coast supporting 1500 MW.
  • Consortium of EnBW and BP – two sites in Northern Wales & Irish Sea both with the potential to produce 1500 MW.
  • Offshore Wind Limited, a Joint Venture between Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios, S.A. and Flotation Energy plc – Small site off Lincolnshire Coast which could host 480 MW of offshore wind.

Coire Glas

SSE Renewables has announced shortlists of contractors for both the civil engineering works and mechanical and electrical works for the proposed 1.5GW pumped hydro storage scheme at Coire Glas in Scotland’s Great Glen.

The civil engineering and mechanical and electrical works for the project will comprise detailed design and site investigation over the next 2 years, ahead of any final decision by SSE Renewables to proceed with the scheme.

Those shortlisted for civil engineering works are:

  • Bechtel Ltd., Acciona Construcción S.A. and Webuild S.p.A consortium.
  • Eiffage Génie Civil, BeMo Tunnelling UK Ltd., BAM Nuttall Ltd., and Marti Tunnel AG consortium.
  • Dragados S.A.

The companies shortlisted for mechanical and electrical works are:

  • Voith Hydro GmbH & Co KG.
  • GE Hydro France.


Unsurprisingly, thanks to COVID-19, all major aviation projects in UK are still on hold. But, with leisure travel numbers significantly up, it won’t be long before owners start spending again. We expect to see some airport capital programmes moving again mid next year.

You can find out more about how we could help you recruit senior leaders for your major projects teams by getting in touch with me to discuss your needs and plans. Give me a ring on 0203 026 3871.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director