Britpave: The British In-Situ Concrete Paving Association

Cabinet reshuffle has focus on infrastructure

Britpave, the transport infrastructure group, has given a cautious welcome to the appointment of Paul Deighton as Minister for Infrastructure and Economic Delivery. The group hopes that the appointment is a sign of the government is, at last, prepared to meet the need to invest in the UK’s infrastructure with action and not policy rhetoric.

The appointment was made as part this week’s Cabinet reshuffle. Mr Deighton, the Chief Executive of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Locog) will become a peer and take up the role in January 2013. He will report to the Prime Minister and Chancellor and is expected to force through transport infrastructure projects that have been stuck in Whitehall or languishing through lack of funds.

Part of his remit will be to determine extra runway capacity in the South East. Justine Greening, an opponent of the provision of a third runway at Heathrow has been removed as Transport Secretary and replaced by Patrick McLoughlin, a previous Aviation Minister who is on record as supporting both expansion at Heathrow and a new airport in the Thames Estuary.

The poor state of the UK’s infrastructure has become increasingly apparent. According to the National Infrastructure Plan £400 billion is needed to be invested in the UK’s infrastructure between now and 2020 if we are to remain competitive in the global market. The negative impact of the lack of investment in the UK infrastructure is highlighted by the lack of airport capacity in the South East.
Heathrow’s international route network has fallen from 227 destinations in 1990 to 180 today and is forecast to drop to 147. The airport is running at 99 per cent capacity and is being pushed down the international rankings behind other European cities. Paris and Frankfurt have 1,000 more flights per year to the three largest cities in China than Heathrow. It is estimated that the lack of a third runway at Heathrow could cost the UK £8.5 billion in lost business every year over the next ten years.

“The appointments of Paul Deighton and Patrick McLoughlin hopefully show that the Government is becoming serious about the need to invest in the UK’s failing transport infrastructure which is increasingly becoming a barrier to business”, said Steve Elliott, Britpave’s General Manager.