• Brett takes the chair at RSTA


    Kiely Bros contracts director Keith Brett has taken over as chair of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA).

    He has been involved with the RSTA since its inception and took over from Howard Robinson, managing director of ASI Solutions, last month.

    Mr Brett is an executive committee stalwart and worked with many committees including Slurry Surfacing SHEQ, Surface Dressing and HFS He also assisted in producing code of practice documents over the past 20 years.

    Having mentored and spoken about the surface treatments sector both internally for staff, externally for clients and for the RSTA at various forums, he is widely known by local authorities, clients, suppliers, and through the various technical committees he serves on.

    ‘It is a great honour for me to take over as chair of RSTA. To be able to now represent the organisation and the sector on a national platform is something that I am very passionate about,' he said.

    ‘I would like to thank my employers at Kiely Bros. for their unwavering support in the time they allow me to dedicate to RSTA’s raft of technical committees. They, like me, are committed to promoting the benefits of surface dressing to the wider audience and showcasing the benefits of the processes.’

    RSTA chief executive Paul Boss said: ‘The RSTA is making great progress in placing surface treatments at the heart of proactive maintenance strategies on both the local and national networks and I am very much looking forward to working with Keith to take the organisation and its work even further.’

    Mr Brett has worked in the highway maintenance industry for over 30 years for a variety of surface treatment companies and joined the Birmingham-based national contractor Kiely Bros in 2007.

    The current issue of Highways magazine has a report on the RSTA conference last month.


    Channel: Highways

    keywords: Highways Maintenance

  • Green steps up to lead EEH


    England’s Economic Heartland (EEH) has appointed Naomi Green as its new managing director.

    The sub-national transport body said Ms Green would lead the delivery of its ambitious plans for transport and connectivity infrastructure in the region.

    EEH added that the appointment comes as it focuses on a three-year programme of work, including development and delivery of the region’s infrastructure priorities and establishing a pioneering ‘centre for excellence’ to bolster local authorities’ capacity to plan future schemes.

    Ms Green became interim director last August following the departure of Martin Tugwell to lead Transport for the North.

    EEH chair Cllr Richard Wenham said the recruitment process had been ‘thorough’, adding: ‘I’m confident Naomi will play a leading role in driving forward our plans for a regional transport system which supports economic growth while lowering emissions.

    ‘She brings with her a reputation for strong partnership working, is highly respected in the sector and ambitious for the significant role that the Heartland has locally, nationally and globally.

    ‘Her profile and experience, working both in the Heartland and at a national scale, means she is well placed to influence the agenda on transport and connectivity, including securing the investment in infrastructure which the region requires.’

    Ms Green said: ‘I am excited to work with our partners both locally and nationally as we turn the transport strategy’s words into actions and unlock opportunities for our residents, businesses and environment.

    ‘Throughout my career I have always emphasised the need for place-based approaches to infrastructure. There are always different solutions to different challenges throughout our diverse region. By focusing on the needs of people and places, I believe we will be able to deliver a transport system that enables users to have choice in the way they move, while also realising the ambitions of the region as a whole.’

    Ms Green is a former civil servant. Since joining EEH in 2018 as head of technical programme, she led the preparation and implementation of the regional transport strategy published last year.


    Channel: Infrastructure

    keywords: Transport Planning

  • HS2 Ltd struggles to find new chair


    Ministers have cut the working hours expected of a new chair of HS2 Ltd as the Department for Transport (DfT) relaunched attempts to replace Allan Cook, who left the role last summer.

    The DfT said the criteria for the role has been updated ‘to attract leaders from a wider field of sectors and backgrounds ready to take on the challenge of leading this transformational project’.

    The post was first advertised in April 2021 with June pencilled in for interviews but no appointment was made. Where the role was previously advertised at an annual salary of £200,000 for three days a week, this has now been reduced to two days.

    A DfT spokesperson said changes to the criteria ‘allowed a change in the required time commitment, where feedback from our first search tells us we will secure interest from a larger pool of exceptional candidates’.

    HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson said: ‘We’ve relaunched our search with new criteria designed to ensure we recruit the best and brightest candidate, ready to take on this challenge and drive forward transformation across the nation.’

    The changes are:

    • ‘a new criterion on strategic leadership, emphasising the importance of working effectively with leaders from across government and other sectors to harness the transformational benefits of the programme.
    • ‘a refocusing of the criterion on required experience to reflect the wider board strengthening around infrastructure delivery and to widen the pool of potential candidates in order to secure a world class leader’.

    The DfT also announced that transport secretary Grant Shapps has appointed Sir Jon Thompson as deputy chair of HS2 Ltd.

    It said the role will include chairing HS2 Ltd until a permanent replacement is found and will be an extension of the duties he has held as a non-executive director since April 2021.

    He has previously served as permanent secretary at both the Ministry of Defence and HM Revenue and Customs.


    Channel: Infrastructure

    keywords: Transport Planning

  • DfT apologises for Christmas Party COVID breach


    The Department for Transport has been forced to apologise after staff held a Christmas Party with 'boozing and dancing' during last year's lockdown.

    First revealed by the Daily Mirror, the department confirmed reports that senior civil servants broke lockdown rules on 16 December 2020 just as England went into Tier 3 restrictions.

    A spokesperson for Grant Shapps told the BBC that the transport secretary had 'absolutely no idea' about the event and was in his constituency in Hertfordshire on the day.

    A department spokesman said: 'Fewer than a dozen staff who were working in the office had a low-key, socially distanced, gathering in the large open-plan office after work on the 16 December, where food and drink was consumed. We recognise this was inappropriate and apologise for the error of judgement.'

    COVID rules allowed only two people from different households to socialise outside in public places at the time.

    The matter has been referred to the cabinet secretary, the BBC has reported.

    Mr Shapps is reported to have said the situation 'fell below the standard he would naturally expect of his private office'.

    This is the latest exclusive from the Daily Mirror exposing what appears to have been a culture of rule breaking in Whitehall with several unlawful gatherings reported to have taken place in Number 10 and elsewhere during lockdown restrictions.


    Channel: Transportation


  • Labour reshuffle moves Haigh to transport


    Labour's surprise reshuffle has seen Louise Haigh appointed shadow transport secretary, replacing Jim McMahon who is moving to cover the environment, food and rural affairs brief.

    Ms Haigh was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Heeley in May 2015 and served as shadow Northern Ireland secretary for just over a year and a half, having been appointed in April 2020.

    Before that, Ms Haigh was shadow policing minister, a post that allowed her to draw on her experience as a former special constable.

    Following the announcement, Ms Haigh said: 'It has been an incredible honour to serve as Shadow NI Secretary. I have met the most amazing people, committed to building peace and relationships across these islands.

    'And such a privilege to defend Labour’s legacy on the Good Friday Agreement and its vision for a shared future.

    'I'm now looking forward to getting stuck into the Tories on behalf of communities who have been sold out by their transport betrayal and developing Labour’s vision to deliver for the whole of the country.'

    Elsewhere, Lisa Nandy has been moved from shadow Foreign Secretary to shadow secretary of state for levelling up, housing, communities and local government.

    The popular Labour website Labour List described her move as 'technically' a demotion but one designed to bring out the best in the popular politician, well since her leadership bid is known for her passion for towns and local communities.

    'Really this is a promotion because she is so well-suited to the role. It will see "Nandy unleashed" as a source close to her put it,' Labour List reported.

    Ed Miliband is now shadow secretary for climate change and net zero, having had business removed from his brief.

    In all, the reshuffle has been seen as a move to cement Labour leader Keir Starmer's centrist credentials, while also raising the position of Labour MPs with greater media support and profile - such as Yvette Cooper, who came in as shadow home secretary and David Lammy, who is now shadow foreign secretary.

    A negative from the reshuffle appears to be the widening distrust between Mr Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner, who was delivering a keynote speech when the reshuffle began.  

    Mr Starmer said: 'I’m particularly delighted that Lisa Nandy will take on the vital role of shadowing Michael Gove and leading on the levelling up agenda. After 11 years of Conservative mismanagement of our economy, delivering prosperity to all regions and nations in the UK will be a defining mission of the next Labour government, and there will be nobody better than Lisa to lead this work.

    'Climate change is the most important issue facing this country over the next decade. Ed Miliband will lead in the shadow cabinet to develop Labour’s extensive plans for net zero in a first term Labour government, and hold the government to account for its failure to take action. Ed has a proven track record in government, and is a powerful, internationally well respected voice on the issue, and that’s why I am delighted he has agreed to lead on this.

    'Make Brexit Work is huge part of my agenda and that’s why I’ve asked Nick Thomas-Symonds to be in charge at International Trade and lead a Shadow Cabinet committee to deliver this crucial work.'

    Shadow Cabinet in full:

    • Deputy Leader, Shadow First Secretary of State, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work: Angela Rayner
    • Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer: Rachel Reeves
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Industrial Strategy: Jonathan Reynolds
    • Shadow Secretary of State of Climate Change and Net Zero: Ed Miliband
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing, Communities & Local Government: Lisa Nandy
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Defence: John Healey
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport: Lucy Powell
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Education: Bridget Phillipson
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Jim McMahon
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Affairs: David Lammy
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care: Wes Streeting
    • Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department: Yvette Cooper
    • Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade: Nick Thomas-Symonds
    • Shadow Minister of State at the Cabinet Office: Jenny Chapman
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Justice: Steve Reed
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Transport: Louise Haigh
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, Party Chair and Chair of Labour Policy Review: Anneliese Dodds
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions: Jonathan Ashworth
    • Shadow Attorney General: Emily Thornberry
    • Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health: Rosena Allin-Khan
    • Shadow Cabinet Minister for International Development: Preet Gill
    • Shadow Chief Secretary to HM Treasury: Pat McFadden
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Wales: Jo Stevens
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland: Ian Murray
    • Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: Peter Kyle
    • National Campaign Coordinator: Shabana Mahmood
    • Shadow Leader of the House of Commons: Thangam Debbonaire
    • Shadow Chief Whip: Alan Campbell
    • Shadow Leader of the House of Lords: Angela Smith
    • Opposition Chief Whip in the House: Roy Kennedy

    Channel: Transportation