UK Major Projects Pipeline Update – June 2023

UK Major Projects Pipeline Update – June 2023

In the six months since you last read our update, there has been a lot of movement in the UK major projects pipeline.

Check out the latest roundup…



Work on the Euston section and Euston Station – was paused in April. Despite this there is still plenty of activity on the mega project.

  • HS2’s main works contractor Align JV have completed the first set of V-shaped bridge piers for what will be the UK’s longest railway bridge on the Colne Valley Viaduct.
  • They have launched an innovation competition to bring new thinking to the installation of key rail systems infrastructure including track and signalling on the new line.
  • The fourth twin boring machine ‘Mary-Ann’ is set to start its journey digging the Bromford Tunnel, between Water Orton in North Warwickshire and Washwood Heath in Birmingham.

Transpennine Route Upgrade

The upgrade, broken down into eight core projects, four west of Leeds and four to the east is progressing.

Construction has begun on three of the eight projects. Work already carried out includes the installation of 60km of overhead electric cable between Church Fenton and Colton Junction near York.

It also includes track upgrades through Leeds, Batley, Morley and Wakefield Kirkgate, signalling upgrades and a new footbridge at Castleford station.

In March there was a line closure at Stalybridge where 2km of track was remodelled on the approach to the station, 23 signals installed, 13 crossovers upgraded and overhead line equipment was installed.

The programme is expected to be complete between 2036 and 2041 at a cost of between £9bn and £11.5bn.

A key appointment was made earlier this year with Jim Crawford joining as Programme Director.

Crossrail 1

In May, the full timetable was introduced. The introduction marked the final milestone of the Crossrail project.

East West Rail

The first stage of the £5bn East West Rail project connecting Bletchley to Bicester with a 21-mile stretch along the old Varsity line, is nearing completion. The earthworks and the bridges are all finished.

In May, East West Rail and the Department for Transport confirmed their preferred route for a new stretch of track connecting Bedford and Cambridge, including a station at Tempsford.

Network Rail CP7

In May Network Rail published its Strategic Business Plan setting out how it intends to spend £44bn on operating, maintaining and renewing the rail network in England and Wales during Control Period 7, which runs for five years from April 1 2024.

The SBP follows on from the Department for Transport’s publication in December of its High Level Output Statement setting out what the government wants the railway to deliver in CP7, and the Statement of Funds Available.

Capital projects to enhance the network are funded separately on a case-by-case basis and no longer form part of Network Rail’s five-year settlement.

There have also been bundles of contracts awarded across the regions, which we detailed here.


Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme (HARP)

United Utilities have submitted plans for the Haweswater Aqueduct Resilience Programme, also known as HARP, to Ribble Valley Council. Elsewhere, six other local authorities along the route have approved plans for their areas.

Construction is expected to begin later this year.

Thames Tideway

The project is 83% complete in line with the 2022/23 business plan. All tunnel primary lining is complete (30.7km); 66% (20.2km) of tunnel secondary lining works is complete and 83% of shaft secondary lining is complete, with 18 of 21 shafts completed.


Lower Thames Crossing

The project was delayed by two years in March by transport secretary Mark Harper, who said that although the government “remain[s] committed” to the Lower Thames Crossing, the process to get development consent was an opportunity to “consult further to ensure there is an effective and deliverable plan”.

Despite this a review of plans is set to start this month unless a request for a delay from an opposing council is approved.

A303 Stonehenge Tunnel

Following on from the July 2021, High Court judgement that ruled that the decision to grant the DCO was “unlawful”, the current Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper continues to look again at the project’s DCO in what’s known as a “re-determination” process, following a judicial review.

Unlike a standard DCO planning process which has fixed timescales, a re-determination doesn’t, meaning there is no timeframe for a decision.

If the scheme is approved, National Highways are not expecting any preliminary works to start before 2024.


Hinkley Point C

Significant milestones have been achieved on the Hinkley Point C project over the past six months:

  • The first new nuclear reactor vessel for a UK power station for more than 30 years arrived in February.
  • The first reactor building is progressing at pace, after the final 304t steel liner ring was lifted into place in December.
  • In March the 768t pool for Unit 1 was installed.
  • Work on the first Turbine Hall is progressing. It will be handed over to turbine manufacturer General Electric later this year for the installation of the world’s largest turbine.
  • In April, offshore work for the project entered its final stages when two jack-up vessels arrived off the Somerset coast to install components for the power station’s cooling system.

Sizewell C

EDF has appointed a consortium of Jacobs UK, Setec, Tractebel and Egis as its design team for the £20bn Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk.

The companies, known as the ICOSH consortium, previously worked on Sizewell’s precursor at Hinkley Point C in Somerset and will transfer their expertise to the new megaproject.

Meanwhile campaigners have launched a legal challenge against the development consent granted by Kwasi Kwarteng and calls for the government’s £700M investment into Sizewell C announced in Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn statement to be overturned.

National Grid

National Grid ESO announced a series of new reforms to help cut waiting times for connecting new power projects to the grid. There are currently more than £200bn worth of projects sitting in the connections queue.

Under the new rules, ESO has written to parties seeking to connect projects and asked for updates on their progress. They will be using this information to prioritise projects closer to completion and deprioritise those that still have a way to go before they’re ready to connect.

National Grid have also announced that they are seeking key supply chain partners to deliver “The Great Grid Upgrade” the largest overhaul of the grid in generations. The programme will initially centre on nine onshore projects across England and Wales.

Offshore Wind

The UK’s pipeline of offshore wind projects has reached 97,944 MW, up from 91,287 MW a year ago. The pipeline includes projects at every stage of development, including operational, under construction, consented, or planned.

The UK total pipeline was second globally to China with 157 GW.

Coire Glas

SSE is to invest £100m to further develop plans for the major hydroelectric project in Scotland, although the final investment decision on the scheme is not expected until next year.

The £100m investment will fund the next phase of detailed project design and refinement, construction planning and procurement will progress through 2023 and into early 2024. Around half of the £100m development investment will now be allocated to the pre-construction refinement phase of the Coire Glas project, including a comprehensive package of site investigation works which have now commenced and will complete later this year.

Carbon Capture        

BP has acquired a 40% stake in the UK’s Viking CCS project from Harbour Energy as the government looks to accelerate plans to develop carbon capture and storage. The Viking project aims to meet up to a third of the UK’s annual target of capturing 30mn tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030, by repurposing old depleted gasfields off the Humber region coast.

RWE is also planning to progress three new carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects across the UK, which could secure up to 4.7 GW of generation and capture 11 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Government have launched an international competition to find the leading designs for small modular reactors with the aim of co-funding the development of the technology.

Jeremy Hunt also confirmed plans to set up Great British Nuclear, a new body to oversee the revival of atomic energy and smooth the development of a new pipeline of power stations.


Luton Airport

London Luton Airport has submitted revived plans for a major airport expansion to raise capacity from 18m to 32m passengers per year. Consent is being sought to build a new terminal, a major programme of earthworks to create an extension to the current airfield platform and new airside and landside facilities.


New Hospitals Programme

The government has unveiled a £20bn programme to save England’s NHS estate.

Five more hospitals will be added to the list of 40 to be built announced in 2019, and many will be completed in 25% less time than initially predicted using modern methods of construction.

However, the £20bn is significantly less than the £35bn the government estimated the programme would cost and the main building works have yet to start at 33 facilities.

More details on the scheme can be found here.

I’d love to hear about your businesses upcoming plans. 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