Balfour Beatty has published a wishlist of infrastructure projects that should be given direct funding by chancellor Philip Hammond.
The UK’s largest contractor put forward a number of small to medium-sized infrastructure schemes that are in the advanced stages of design and planning but are yet to be delivered due to a lack of funds.
These included road schemes such as the Sunderland Central Route and Sheffield’s Waverley Link Road connection, rail schemes like the Felixstowe Docks rail link upgrade, and other projects such as the £180m Leeds flood plan.
Other recommendations included bringing forward the Priority School Building Programme 2, which the report regarded as a infrastructure programme that could ”start instantly and be delivered quickly”.
The report said a green light for these projects and programmes would “send out a strong signal” from the government, stimulate economic growth and provide swift economic benefits.
The calls from Balfour Beatty come ahead of the Autumn Statement on 23 November.
The Autumn Statement is expected to include major investment in infrastructure projects, with the chancellor saying the government would look at “modest and rapidly deliverable investments”.
Balfour Beatty said a number of the schemes listed in its report matched these requirements and should now be reconsidered.
Balfour Beatty chief executive Leo Quinn said: “As of today a number of road, rail, public realm, flood defence and construction projects exist which meet the chancellor’s tests, in many cases have been approved, but are stalled by lack of funding.”
To deliver these projects quicker, the contractor made several recommendations to speed up project planning, procurement and delivery.
Streamlining planning approval processes within local authorities and making the government’s prequalification standard, PAS 91, mandatory throughout all council procurement processes were among its proposals.
The report also called on the government to provide an early integrated policy response to help the UK retain the skills of EU migrants currently working in the sector, and ensure the UK remained an attractive place for talented people to work.
Despite the calls for increased investment for smaller projects, the report suggested funding should not be channelled away from planned major projects such as High Speed 2 and the Thames Tideway Tunnel.
Mr Quinn said: “While major infrastructure investment will be vital to the strength of the UK over the mid-term, we believe there is also a way for the government’s industrial strategy to drive rapid economic stimulus, with considerable geographic precision.”
Balfour Beatty’s project wishlist
- The Sunderland Central Route, Waverley Road Link in Sheffield and the M54 to M6 Toll Link in the West Midlands should be reconsidered.
- The second phase of the Priority School Building Programme should begin immediately, with work on 319 sites able to start quickly.
- Platform lengths should be extended on stations along UK’s major rail lines. Doing this on lines such as Birmingham and Stansted Airport, Norwich to Liverpool and Southampton to Newcastle line would increase capacity and reduce overcrowding.
- The UK’s regional airports should be joined up. Better rail and road links should be delivered at Leeds / Bradford, Manchester, Birmingham and Luton airports would ease the pressure on Heathrow and Gatwick.
- Dualling of the the 14 km section of the A30 between Carland Cross and Chiverton Cross would cost £280m and address a key bottleneck in Cornwall.
- Speed up or expand the programme of upgrading and modernising London Underground to improve commuter times and productivity in the capital.
- Upgrade the rail link to Felixstowe docks, making it easier to import and export goods out of the UK’s biggest port.
- There are a number of flood defence schemes that could be reinstated. These include the £180m Leeds flood alleviation scheme that aims to cover flood defence schemes across Leeds, York, Calder Valley and Carlisle.