UK Major Projects Pipeline Update – December 2023

UK Major Projects Pipeline Update – December 2023

2023 has been an eventful year for the Transport & Infrastructure sectors. We have seen some amazing progress on many of the UK’s major programmes as well as some setbacks that have been felt across the entire market.

As we head into Christmas, let’s celebrate some of the sector’s achievements by taking a look at the latest update from the major projects pipeline.

Have a great Christmas, and I look forward to catching up in the New Year!



  • The northern leg of the programme was cancelled back in October. Phase 1 will still be completed. This not only includes the HS2 line from London to Birmingham, but up to where it joins the west coast main line near Handsacre just north of Lichfield.
  • It was announced at the time that the current HS2 management team will no longer run the Euston site. Instead, a new Euston development zone would be created.
  • The procurement pipeline for the next 18 months has been published, worth more than £1bn in total. More than 300 work packages are up for grabs, ranging in value from £1m to more than £500m.
  • Assembly of HS2’s second TBM has been completed, which will start digging the second bore of the 3.5 mile Bromford Tunnel into Birmingham next year.
  • Skanska Costain Strabag joint venture has secured an extra £200m funding for its first phase southern tunnelling section of the high speed route.
  • The rail systems contracts are expected to be announced in Q1 of 2024.

Transpennine Route Upgrade

  • The Minister for Rail has announced a £3.9bn funding boost for the programme. This increase takes the total funding of the project to £6.9bn
  • In September, the TRU East Alliance completed three new drainage tunnels beneath the railway line at Ulleskelf Mires in North Yorkshire.

East West Rail

  • The National Audit Office (NAO) has raised concerns about the costs and benefits of the current plan for the programme following the plans announced by the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to expand housebuilding in Cambridge.
  • A further consultation on East West Rail is due to take place next year.
  • Work is currently underway on Connection Stage 1 (CS1), which is seeing the line built from Oxford to Bletchley (Milton Keynes), with a delivery date of early 2025.

Network Rail CP7

  • The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has approved Network Rail’s £43.1 billion plan for CP7 which will run over the next five years.
  • Contractors have been alerted to the procurement of the reactive and minor works framework in the Wales and Western region worth £750m.
  • Procurement has also begun for the Eastern region reactive works and small scheme framework, worth £1.15bn over a maximum of seven years.
  • In August, Network Rail Scotland published its £4·2bn Strategic Business Plan for Control Period 7, covering the five years from April 1 2024.
  • The Southern Renewals Enterprise have announced a registration of interest for “Ecosystem” partners.


Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme (HARP)

  • Activity is ongoing to shortlist contractors for the £1.75bn programme. The successful bidders are due to be announced imminently.

Thames Tideway

  • Construction is now 90% complete.
  • Tideway will begin testing the system next year, diverting live storm flows of untreated sewage away from the river Thames for the first time.
  • The system will be fully operational in 2025.


Lower Thames Crossing

  • A Bouygues Travaux Publics – Murphy Joint Venture (BMJV) has won a £1.34bn contract to design and construct the twin road tunnels.
  • The DCO process is expected to run until 2024.

A303 Stonehenge Tunnel

  • The DfT approved the £1.7bn tunnel – from Amesbury to Berwick Down in Wiltshire – in July. Campaigners are making a second High Court bid to try to block a road tunnel project near Stonehenge.
  • National Highways are continuing to plan and make preparations for starting preliminary work and archaeology fieldwork in 2024.


Hinkley Point C

  • Last week engineering teams lifted the 245-tonne steel dome capping the first Hinkley C reactor building.
  • HPC celebrated a milestone with the installation of a polar crane at the top of the first reactor building. It is one of the final pieces of equipment to be installed in the reactor building before the dome is lifted into place to close the roof.
  • In August, National Grid’s Hinkley Connection Project completed the installation of all 116 T-Pylons.
  • They are on target to start generating electricity in 2027.

Sizewell C

  • In August, the government pledged another £341m to speed up preparations for Sizewell C’s construction.
  • Ministers are searching for new investors in the project, which could cost between £20bn and £44bn, after removing the Chinese state-owned CGN last year due to security concerns over UK infrastructure amid poor Anglo-Sino relations.
  • The search has begun for civils and installation works to create an electrical system for the £20bn nuclear plant.
  • Eastern Green Link 1 has awarded £1.8bn of contracts to deliver the UK’s first high-capacity east coast cable project. The full details can be found here. Current plans will see a design phase start next year and construction the year after, in 2025.
  • Eastern Green Link 2 to be delivered as a joint venture between National Grid and SSEN Transmission is currently in the early development stage. Planning consent has now been granted for all onshore and offshore elements.

National Grid HDVC

  • Three frameworks have been released to the market to deliver plans for major power line links and high voltage direct current converter stations to hook up the offshore wind farm:
  • £12.77bn for civils and major works
    • £24.6bn for converter systems
    • £21.3bn for cables
  • The final cable testing for the world’s longest onshore and subsea HVDC interconnector is now complete.
  • Commercial operation is expected to commence on 29 December 2023.

Offshore Wind

  • No companies hoping to build offshore windfarms in the UK took part in the government’s most recent annual clean energy auction in September. As a result, Ministers have agreed to raise the starting price of the government’s next auction for offshore wind subsidies by around two-thirds to £73 per megawatt hour.

Carbon Capture        

  • The Government have identified two new carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) facilities for support alongside its announcement on new oil and gas licences. Project Viking (which features a partnership between RWE, Drax and SSE) is based in the Humber while Project Acorn (Shell and National Gas) is based in North East Scotland. (Energy UK update in inbox)

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

  • 6 companies have been selected to advance to next phase of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) competition for innovative nuclear technologies:
    • EDF
    • GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy International LLC
    • Holtec Britain Limited
    • NuScale Power
    • Rolls Royce SMR
    • Westinghouse Electric Company UK Limited
  • Successful companies are expected to be announced in Spring 2024 and contracts awarded in Summer.


Manchester Airport

  • Mace has started work on the final phase of Manchester Airport’s £1.3bn transformation programme.
  • Work has begun on the construction of a new pier, Pier 2, which will connect to Terminal 2.

  • Completion is scheduled for 2025.


Restoration & Renewal

  • In October the Delivery Authority held a consultation with potential suppliers for Strategic Partners in advance of full-scale procurements which will commencing in 2024. They are looking to procure:
  1. A Design Services Partner
  2. An Integrator to oversee, manage and integrate the programme
  3. A Construction Partner to support the development and completion of the design and procure, undertake, and manage the works.
  • Procurement of 3 delivery partners is expected to commence in 2024.

Let’s get some time in to catch up on your business plans for the new year. Let me know what times work for a 15-minute phone call or alternatively you can access my diary here.

Author: Jim Newsom

Jim Newsom

Managing Director