Somehow it has been 6 months since we last looked at where the UK’s major projects pipeline is and what new developments there have been.
Last November the government’s Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) had just been announced and the East and West routes were finally established.
Since then, there have been a number of updates on the project:
TfL is inviting construction companies to apply for work on the upgrade of the Elephant & Castle tube station, which will involve a new station entrance for the Northern line, with provision for the Bakerloo line in the future.
West of Leeds –
TRUw is split into 5 sections (W1, W2, W3, W4, W5), the largest of these being W3; Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury).
The W1 section is in construction at the moment, with W3 finishing GRIP4 heading in to GRIP5. The key thing for W3 is to secure a transport works act order (TWA) which they are hoping to get in December. This will give them the right to compulsory purchase land so that W3 can go into construction next year.
East of Leeds –
Works are ongoing with the Alliance between Network Rail, VolkerRail, J. Murphy and Sons and Siemens.
Over Christmas they completed the biggest track upgrade at Leeds station in 20 years, with the track layout between platforms 4 and 6 successfully remodelled. More than 1,500m of new electric wires were installed and more than 200m of track were replaced. Furthermore, platform 7 was extended to allow longer trains to serve the platform.
The Elizabeth Line will open on 24th May 2022, running 12 trains per hour between Paddington and Abbey Wood from Monday to Saturday 06:30 to 23:00. Work will continue in engineering hours and on Sundays to allow a series of testing and software updates in preparation for more intensive services from the autumn.
Work is ongoing at Bond Street Elizabeth line station.
There is also a significant amount of rebranding being undertaken as all lines currently operating as TfL Rail between Reading and Heathrow to Paddington and Shenfield to Liverpool Street will switch to the Elizabeth Line.
It has been confirmed that East West Rail Co. will operate independently from Network Rail meaning they are the developer and operator of the line.
Beth West was appointed as CEO taking over from Simon Blanchflower and a series of public events have been organised to help alleviate concerns over the route in Bedford.
Wales and Western Region –
Network Rail have announced a package of c£2bn contract opportunities for construction contractors. The framework will cover the majority of the buildings and civils work, including structures, geotechnical off-track & drainage and stations & buildings. It is divided into five lots.
Eastern Region –
The Renewals and Minor Enhancements contract notice was published in April. The frameworks include civil engineering and construction work on railway structures, geotechnics and buildings; signalling and telecoms; and electrification and power and is worth £4bn in total.
Severn Trent –
Seven Trent and its north and mid-Wales water company Hafren Dyfrdwy plan to spend £2.5bn during the remaining AMP7 period, and are seeking delivery partners for civils, M&E, green solutions and pipelines with an increased emphasis on digital and innovation.
Anglian Water –
Anglian Water has unveiled plans for its largest ever single-year investment for the third year of AMP7, which will see the company spend £680m.
Tunnelling officially ended on 29th April after four years. The Tideway project is due to be complete in 2025, following secondary lining, connection and testing works.
Another consultation has been launched which focuses on the changes made based on a previous consultation in 2021.
Once the feedback is gathered by National Highways, it will submit a revised Development Consent Order application later this year.
Contractors competing to win the tunnelling package have received the Invitation to Participate in Dialogue (ITPD) stage of procurement, which will ultimately decide how the tunnel is delivered and by who.
The three teams shortlisted for the tunnelling job will now begin drawing up plans on how to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from the construction process. A winning bidder is expected to be announced next summer, with construction earmarked to begin in 2024.
The three shortlisted bidders are:
In February National Highways published fresh information, including new environmental documents outlining its plans to develop the Stonehenge tunnel on the A303.
The updated plans that have been submitted include new environmental documents, after the High Court overturned the planning permission on environmental grounds in July 2021.
EDF have warned of further delays on the project, which could result in the life of Hinkley Point B being extended for a further 18 months.
In March a 347-tonne liner steel ring was lifted onto the Unit 1 reactor building. The building now stands at more than 32 metres tall, changing the skyline at the site.
Sizewell C is definitely “still on the agenda” according to Boris Johnson, there is just still the issue around who will fund the project which will be part publicly funded and part funded by international investors.
A decision on the project was delayed by 6 weeks to 8th July, following BEIS seeking additional information on a number of issues in the plans from EDF – including transport, water and wildlife.
The government has stepped up its commitment to new nuclear in Britain in response to the energy price and security crisis. The Wylfa site is tipped to be part of that with UK and Welsh governments supportive and talks ongoing with US energy and engineering firms Westinghouse and Bechtel as well as the potential for Small Modular Reactors.
The Crown Estate has completed its work on the Plan-Level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) for Offshore Wind Leasing Round 4 – which has the potential to deliver up to 8GW of vital new offshore wind capacity (enough to power up to 7 million more homes).
As a result, they have given notice to the UK and Welsh Governments of its intent to proceed with the Round 4 plan on the basis of a ‘derogation’. The notice confirms the intention to progress all six of the offshore wind projects:
SSE Renewables have selected STRABAG UK to undertake exploratory works for the planned pumped hydro storage scheme at Coire Glas, on the shores of Loch Lochy.
In February, six groups were invited to submit tenders for construction:
Civil engineering –
The tendering process will consist of two stages ahead of a final decision on whether to proceed with construction of the scheme in late 2023
As passenger numbers continue to recover back towards pre-pandemic levels Gatwick Airport have taken steps to ramp up their Capital Delivery programme again. This includes the Pier 6 Western Extension Project, and the proposed International Departure Lounge (IDL) Extension Projects.
Heathrow plan to review their plans for Expansion over the course of this year and Heathrow continue to purchase houses close to the proposed Expansion site. With demand starting to recover they also plan to reopen Terminal 4 for the summer.
In March the government published a new Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy, confirming £1.6bn of public funding for charging points. Additionally, BP is announcing a £1bn investment in rapid charging stations.
Shell has also announced plans to install 100,000 public electric car charging points by 2030. It will ensure that 90% of drivers would be within a 10-minute drive of a Shell rapid charger by the end of the decade.