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Infrastructure, United Kingdom

Thursday 13 Oct 2016

UK Infrastructure powers ahead

Infrastructure by WAN Editorial in United Kingdom
Infrastructure by WAN Editorial in United Kingdom Infrastructure by WAN Editorial in United Kingdom Infrastructure by WAN Editorial in United Kingdom Infrastructure by WAN Editorial in United Kingdom Infrastructure by WAN Editorial in United Kingdom Infrastructure by WAN Editorial in United Kingdom
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Infrastructure projects in the UK are providing architects and engineers with a huge range of high profile projects 

The range and number of planned or ongoing infrastructure schemes in the UK is vast at present with transport and energy projects leading the way. Here WAN takes a look at some of the more high profile projects, including HS2, Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station and Heathrow’s expansion plans

Swansea Bay to host the world’s first Tidal Lagoon Power Plant

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon in the UK received planning consent in 2015 and will comprise 16 hydro turbines, a six mile breakwater wall, generating electricity for 155,000 homes for the next 120 years.

A tidal lagoon is a ‘U’ shaped breakwater, built out from the coast which has a bank of hydro turbines in it. Water fills up and empties the man-made lagoon as the tides rise and fall. We generate electricity on both the incoming and outgoing tides, four times a day, every day.

Due to the incredible tides on the West Coast of Britain, by keeping the turbine gates shut for just three hours, there is already a 14 foot height difference in water between the inside and the outside of the lagoon. Power is then generated as the water rushes through 200ft long draft tubes, rotating the 23ft diameter hydro turbines.

Heathrow expansion – Third Runway plans

The long-awaited decision on airport expansion could be made next Tuesday (October 18) with transport secretary Chris Grayling making an announcement to the House of Commons. 

The Davies Commission recommended in July last year that a third runway should be built at Heathrow. Other shortlisted options are extending the airport’s existing northern runway or building a second runway at Gatwick. If the plans get the go-ahead this will open the doors for a new sixth terminal at Heathrow.

Hinkley Point C nuclear power station gets the green light

In late September Government ministers and stakeholders from the UK, France and China attended a ceremony to officially agree the £18bn Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

The green light means Hinkley Point C will be the first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK in a generation.

A contract was signed in London by business secretary Greg Clark, Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman of French energy firm EDF, and He Yu, chairman of Chinese firm CGN which has a third stake in the scheme.

It allows construction to begin in earnest - building on preliminary groundworks already completed at the Somerset site but halted when Theresa May demanded a review of the project on taking office as prime minister.

The Government's concerns included not only value for money but also Chinese involvement, which critics of the scheme had long-argued was a potential security risk.

Opponents say the price of electricity from the plant will be too high, that nuclear power is still too risky and that decommissioning cost will be huge.

London's Crossrail 75% complete

Crossrail is the biggest construction project in Europe and is one of the largest single infrastructure investments ever undertaken in the UK. 75% of the project has now been delivered, and the project is being delivered on time and on budget. The new railway for London and the South East will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through 42km of new tunnels under London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

Half of the permanent track on the line has now been laid, and nearly all of the platform structures, which will give step-free access to the 200m long trains at all of the 10 new stations, have also been built.

In addition to the main project, Crossrail 2 is a proposed new railway serving London and the wider South East. It would connect the National Rail networks in Surrey and Hertfordshire via new tunnels and stations between Wimbledon, Tottenham Hale and New Southgate, linking in with London underground, London Overground, Crossrail 1, national and international rail services. It will add capacity to the regional rail network, cutting journey times across the South East. 

HS2 - UK Transport Secretary gets behind plans

High Speed 2 (HS2) is a planned high-speed railway in the UK that will link London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester. The project has created a lot of controversy with arguments for and against continuing to be heard on a daily basis but the UK Government has now made a firm decision on the project. 

On 13th October the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling confirmed that the government is committed to pressing ahead with HS2 to tackle the looming capacity crisis and to help boost jobs.

He also confirmed construction would begin on the scheme in the first half of next year.

Grayling said: “We need HS2 now more than ever. We need HS2 for the capacity it will bring on the routes between London, the West Midlands, Crewe, Leeds and Manchester as well as the space it’ll create elsewhere on our transport network. We need it for the boost it will give to our regional and national economies. And we need it for the jobs it will create, and for the way it will link our country together."

A decision on the HS2 Phase Two route to Manchester and Leeds will be taken in the Autumn.

The HS2 project is split into two sections. Phase one is a north westerly route between London Euston onto the existing northbound West Coast Main Line just north of Lichfield in Staffordshire taking the service onto the North West of England and Scotland. The line routes to the east of Birmingham with a branch connecting to the city.

Phase two will create two branch lines from Birmingham running north either side of the Pennines creating a "Y" network. The western section will run up to Liverpool and Manchester. The eastern section will run up to Sheffield, Leeds and York.

This continues to be an exciting period for UK infrastructure projects and as population pressure increases and the need for environmentally friendly energy sources ramps up this trend is set to continue.

UK Construction Week takes place at the NEC Birmingham between 18-20 October 

On Tuesday 18th October between 11.00 – 12.30 – Inspirational Infrastructure, Civils Show, Hall 3A 

Nick Myall

News editor

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