News Update - 20th October, 2014
Prudential becomes key backer of £1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project
Insurance giant Prudential has been named as the cornerstone investor in the £1bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project.
The FTSE 100 insurer has become a major backer of the scheme which was formally accepted for examination for planning in March of this year.
Prudential is, through its investment arm M& G, preparing to inject up to £100m in the project which will open in 2018 if planning is granted.
Prudential group chief executive Tidjane Thiam said: "The financing of this power station is emblematic of the role that Prudential plays in transforming the hard earned savings of millions of our customers into long term productive investment in the UK economy.
"Such investments provide our customers with strong and sustainable returns, create good jobs and increase productivity and economic competitiveness.
"Prudential is committed to invest in infrastructure projects that benefit the national economy.
Wales Online, 19 October, 2014 – http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/business-news/prudential-becomes-key-backer-1bn-7959550
Expert calls for "long term planning" as infrastructure industry and government pledge cooperation on skills
UK government and the construction industry are to produce a detailed "map" of the country's infrastructure skills needs, the commercial secretary to the treasury has announced.
The new 'Supply Chain Capacity and Skills Group' will include representatives from government, supply chain organisations and skills bodies and will be chaired by Diana Montgomery, the chief executive of the Construction Products Association (CPA), Lord Paul Deighton told the Institution of Civil Engineers. It expects to report to the government by next summer, he said.
Speaking to Construction News (registration required), Lord Deighton said that he could not "think of anything more important" than ensuring that the UK had enough of a skilled workforce in place to deliver the projects it had committed to under the National Infrastructure Plan.
"We're very focused in the Treasury on where our pipeline tells us we need skills so we can figure out how to invest enough to ensure those skills are available where and how we need them," he said.
Welsh planning bill introduced by Sargeant
Carl Sargeant, the Welsh Government’s minister for natural resources, has formally lodged the Planning (Wales) Bill in the National Assembly. The legislation represents a first for Wales.
The Bill, which proposes wide ranging changes to the operation of the planning system, includes measures for:
• a new tier of planning decision (‘Developments of National Significance’) to be determined by Welsh ministers
• the introduction of a National Development Framework, and a strategic tier of development plans, to consider strategic planning issues
• front-loading of community consultation through a formal pre-application process
• improvements to the operation of the appeal and enforcement systems
The minister said the Bill would “see the planning process strengthened from top to bottom, resulting in a fair, enabling and resilient system which best serves the people of Wales and is fit for the 21st century”.
Planning Portal, October 9, 2014 – http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/general/news/stories/2014/october14/091014/091014_2
Infrastructure skills map to be drawn up by government and industry
Government, construction clients and contractors will work together to produce an infrastructure skills map, commercial secretary to the Treasury Paul Deighton has said.
Construction Products Association chief executive Diana Montgomery will chair the new Supply Chain Capacity and Skills group, which will include representatives from government, supply chain organisations and skills bodies.
Lord Deighton made the announcement as he launched a refreshed infrastructure cost programme at the Institution of Civil Engineers.
The skills group will work with government to recommend ways to build capability and capacity in the supply chain and help mitigate inflationary pressures in the UK infrastructure sector.
Lord Deighton said he “can’t think of anything more important” than ensuring the necessary skilled workforce was in place to deliver projects committed under the National Infrastructure Plan.
Construction News, October 6, 2014 – http://www.cnplus.co.uk/news/government-policy/infrastructure-skills-map-to-be-drawn-up-by-government-and-industry/8670515.article#.VDau6_ldX14
HS2 route change near Lichfield
HS2’s impact on the landscape around Lichfield has been reduced following a decision by the Secretary of State for Transport.
As a result of partnership working between HS2 Ltd and Staffordshire County Council, Patrick McLoughlin is proposing amendments to the Phase One route near Lichfield. The amended route will now pass under the A38, the West Coast Main Line and the South Staffordshire line rather than run over them on viaducts. The alignment will also be amended to remove two crossings over the Trent and Mersey Canal.
These changes reflect what many local residents and stakeholders, including the Canal & Rivers Trust, requested during the Petitioning Process. The changes reduce the size of embankments in the area and mean large sections of the railway will run in cutting, limiting its visual impact on the landscape.
hs2, October 1, 2014 – http://www.hs2.org.uk/press/hs2-route-change-near-lichfield
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