Engineers call for map to the Northern Powerhouse


Civil engineers have called on government to provide a delivery route map for the Northern Powerhouse, after a recent BBC survey found the majority of Northerners know nothing about it.

A BBC commissioned survey of more than 1,000 people found 44% had never heard of the Northern Powerhouse policy and 20% had heard of it but know nothing more.

The scheme, which aims to help rebalance the economy between north and south, could see more than £10bn of investment pumped into the region to improve transport links.

Ahead of the Spending Review on 25 November, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) called on Government to produce a detailed pipeline of both the public and private investments in Northern infrastructure as well as an assessment of the actions needed to make each project a reality.

This should include looking at the financial, planning, political and technical challenges while highlighting what actions government will take to overcome them, CECA said.

CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: ‘To ensure the Government’s ambitions are realised we need a clear plan of action to guarantee spades in the ground in the near future. We call on the chancellor to provide a clear route map to the delivery of the Northern Powerhouse, allowing industry to work with Government to make it a reality.’

Fears of hyperinflation and a lack of skills have been rumbling for some time now in the infrastructure sector and a route map could give greater certainty to industry and help prevent the sector over-heating or failing to increase capacity to deliver.

Recent reports suggest HS2 as the latest project to suffer from inflation in the sector, with The Times reporting that the £50bn price tag at 2011 prices could already rise to £70bn.

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