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RIA respond to the Transport Committee’s Major Projects inquiry

The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has published its response to the Transport Committee’s inquiry into Major Transport Projects.

The UK has a wealth of experience in delivering major rail projects, both new build and working on operational rail networks. 

This is often particularly challenging as the UK rail network comprises of a mixture of historical and modern infrastructure and runs freight and passenger services on the same network. 

The UK supply chain brings a wealth of global expertise delivering world-class projects all around the world.

RIA’s key asks are:

  • Develop 30-year rail investment plans, reinforced by clear and democratically accountable multi-year funding settlements. Ongoing and accelerated investment in rail can help provide an economic recovery and achieve the Government’s aim of ‘building back better’. Support this with published pipelines to encourage supplier investment planning and recruitment.
  • Reinstate confidence in public transport as a safe, clean and green form of transport – working with rail suppliers to develop appropriate responses to the Coronavirus risks.
  • Accelerate rail projects – Rail should be a central plank of Government plans to ‘build back better’. Instead of holding off investment, we urge the Government to accelerate rail projects, which will help deliver a rail network ready for the future, providing a green low carbon mode of transport, boosting the UK’s exports offer, and providing much-needed employment and investment for communities across the UK.
  • Procure Zero Carbon - include embodied carbon considerations in procurement specifications to leverage zero-carbon rail fleet, infrastructure manufacturing and building capabilities.
  • Recognise the full value and potential of rail sector to support passenger and freight connectivity, economic growth, zero carbon, levelling up, active travel and skills development, in line with new Green Book appraisal guidance.
  • Involve the rail supply chain in the development of creative governance and co-clients models, plans for new funding models, and the new Investment Bank. Maintain the culture of continuous learning and improvement by inviting suppliers to join Government major project training.
  • Engage suppliers early – ensure all rail clients engage with suppliers to reduce waste and increase efficiency.
  • Once committed, do not look back. Start survey work as soon as the political commitment is in place, and crucially, once the political support is secured, do not reopen the scheme for political review. Be ambitious – build on UK capability and recognise the potential to learn from international experience and grow UK exports.
  • Promote the culture of learning from successful major project delivery in the UK and other countries and include international project benchmarking in key major project considerations. 
  • Fully support the proposed rail investment to allow the supply chain to retain and invest in a skilled workforce.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “Today we have published our submission to Parliament’s Transport Committee inquiry on the delivery of major projects.

“Major rail projects are essential to increasing connectivity and capacity for passengers and freight users, reducing carbon emissions, and in supporting jobs, investment and economic growth right across the UK. At this crucial time for the economy, we should be pushing ahead with major rail schemes.
“The UK has some world-leading experience of and expertise in delivering these large-scale projects, including complex and long-running improvements to the rail system. And despite previous well-documented challenges on projects, we are confident that with the Government’s support and long-term planning, the UK rail industry has the skills and capability to deliver the necessary upgrades to our network, including flagship projects like HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Crossrail, Midlands Rail Hub, East West Rail, TransPennine Route Upgrade and many more.

“RIA and our members look forward to working with the Committee on the inquiry to consider how we can deliver these projects efficiently and effectively.”

Image: HS2 Ltd 

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