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Construction Parliamentary Update - 15 January 2009

A round up of all the construction news from Westminster this week brought to you by the Madano Partnership.

GENERAL PPP/PFI
New figures showed that last year was the worst in a decade for deals done under the private finance initiative. Only 34 deals were completed in 2008 and the deals themselves had the lowest value at 6.82 billion pounds. During the previous ten years, at least 60 deals per year have been closed (The Financial Times). (14 January)

CONSTRUCTION
The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) published its ‘Manifesto for UK Infrastructure - Future government must commit to vital infrastructure investment’ including recommendations to create a UK National Infrastructure Investment Bank, a fair and efficient planning system and that urgent action must be taken on energy (Press Release). (13 January)

Management consultancy Leading Edge forecasted a fall in total construction industry output of 1.7% in 2010 compared to 2009 (Press Release). (12 January)

The Welsh Apprenticeship Week was launched to celebrate the “skills and enthusiasm” of people who learn from their employer, training providers across Wales opened their doors to potential employers, including construction firms, to see how the apprentice process works in practice (Press Release). (12 January)

HOUSING
The Northern Ireland Department of Health Planning Service submitted planning permission for a scheme to build more than 300 new homes on the old site of Belfast’s Belvoir Park Hospital. (14 January)

Housing Minister John Healey announced that the Government has doubled the funding available for new council homes. Mr Healey announced 73 councils covering every region of England that will share an extra £122.6million. Councils will match the second round Government grant bringing investment in this round to £246million, and total public investment in the programme as a whole to over £500million to build more than 4,000 new council homes for 8,000 people (Press Release). (11 January)

The Home and Communities Agency’s (HCA) announced the appointment of a variety of house builder, contractors and development consortia to the new Delivery Partner Panel. Aimed at streamlining development on publicly-owned land, the panel is divided into three clusters - northern, central and southern (Press Release). (08 January)

EDUCATION
The Treasury intervened in the £600 million Somerset Building Schools for the Future contract over flooding concerns. Somerset County Council was due to make a final decision about which contractor would win the work but the Treasury asked the council to respond to a number of queries relating to Somerset’s flood risk before it approves funding for the project (Construction News) (14 January)

Staffordshire County Council appointed Willmott Dixon as preferred bidder for a £35million contract to build the Landau Forte Academy in Tamworth (Press Release). (08 January)

TRANSPORT
Network Rail announced that Jarvis Rail has been awarded a contract worth a potential £91 million. The initial phase is worth £55 million and is set to take place before April 2010 (Press Release). (14 January)

Shadow Transport Secretary Theresa Villiers MP, spoke at Politeia’s Winter address on ‘The Conservative Approach to the Railways’. Theresa Villiers promised to introduce a new system of flexible rail franchises of 15 to 20 years to impose stability on the network in the wake of recent nationalisation of the East Coast Mainline (Financial Times). (12 January)

Local authorities announced that the recent “big freeze” has resulted in weather damaged roads including potholes and cracked pipes with councils requesting extra Government funding to help fix the damaged roads (Local Government Association: BBC). (12 January)

Network Rail announced the appointment of two new non-executive directors Lawrie Haynes and Janis Kong (Press Release). (12 January)

The London Underground was called before the Public Private Partnership Arbiter to explain the cost of upgrading the Victoria Line, in light of information showing that the 21km (13-mile) Victoria Line upgrade is costing around £20 million per kilometre, compared with the £10 million per kilometre that Tube Lines is proposing to spend on upgrading the Northern Line (The Times). (07 January)

FLOODING
The Welsh Assembly Government opened its consultation on a Ministerial Direction for Reservoir Flood Plans, due to close on 06th April 2010. (12 January)

WASTE AND UTILITIES
The Scottish Economic, Energy and Tourism Committee discussed the Beauly to Denny Power Line with Energy Minister Jim Mather announcing that measures to mitigate the impact of the line in some areas could see some sections buried underground. The project is being developed by Scottish and Southern Energy, who want to upgrade the power line and erect 600 pylons between 42 metres and 65 metres-high along the 137-mile route. It is estimated the scheme could cost between £300 million and £400 million to build (Video: Minutes). (13 January)

The Project Transform partnership of three West Midlands councils announced an eight-bidder shortlist for a PFI-funded waste treatment deal set to see a 305,000 tonnes-a-year capacity incinerator developed in the region. (13 January)

United Utilities and Anglian Water appointed Balfour Beatty for a £600 million capital programme which will involve the company delivering clean water and wastewater projects and DG5 flood alleviation schemes through-out North-West England (Press Release). (12 January)

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) announced that it expects to receive proposals from four new projects including two waste combustion plants in Bedfordshire and Merthyr Tydfil (Press Release). (08 January)

POLICE, FIRE AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
The House of Commons Parliamentary Justice Committee published a report criticising the creation of new prison places as unaffordable and ineffective. The committee said that Labour and the Conservatives must abandon their ‘race’ over the building of prisons and instead adopt a new approach where money earmarked for prison-building is redirected towards prevention and rehabilitation (Press Release; Financial Times). (14 January)

The Ministry of Justice appointed Interserve as the preferred bidder for the £70 million contract to design and construct a young offenders institution at Glen Parva, Leicestershire (Construction News). (12 January)

DEFENCE
The Ministry of Defence awarded a £29million contract to clear the site for the new combined armed services academy at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, which at £12billion will be the largest ever value PFI contract in the UK (ICE). (12 January)

The Ministry of Defense has awarded a £29 million contract to the Matrix Consortium to perform early works on the home of the future Defence Technical College. The first stage of the project will focus on the relocation of the RAF 4School of Technical Training to a temporary location and later stages will include the demolition of existing buildings and site improvements. (11 January)

FUTURE EVENTS

Friday 15 January 2010
The Northern Way, Regeneration Momentum Conference
House of Lords - Second reading of Building Regulations Private Members Bill
NEW! South West Housing Summit

Tuesday 19 January 2010
NHF, Excellence in Rural Housing Conference
Oxford Brookes Conference - Now or Never; A low Carbon Built Environment for the 21st Century

Thursday 21 January 2010
IPFA Scotland : Waste
RICS Inclusive Environment conference

Friday 22 January 2010
NEW! Sustainability - the opportunity for UK property and construction