Highways England is aiming to help businesses in Kent and Essex to be a part of the the Lower Thames Crossing scheme, by creating a database of local businesses and their specialists, which will be given to the main works contractors.
HE hopes the Small Medium Enterprise directory will give firms the best possible chance to work on this project.
Since the directory was launched in late December more than 60 businesses, ranging from printers and builders to security firms and training providers, have already entered their details. The target is to have hundreds of businesses registered to help ensure as much of the work needed to build the Crossing goes to local firms.
Matt Palmer, Executive Director for the Lower Thames Crossing explained, “The Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious road project in nearly 35 years. At a time of huge uncertainty for the UK economy, this scheme will create tens of thousands of jobs in the local area and create many opportunities for smaller businesses.
“We need the of businesses large and small to build the scheme, but we know the challenges of getting a foot in the door on projects of this scale, so we want to remove the barriers between businesses and our main contractors.”
Deborah Turner, Area Leader for the Federation of Small Businesses added, “Small businesses in Kent, London and Essex have told us they are keen to access procurement opportunities within this major project, so we are delighted that the Highways England team have listened and have created this SME Directory. Our research shows that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p remains within the local economy. We urge small businesses to register as soon as they can.”
In October Highways England began the search for partners to deliver the scheme with the announcement of a £2 billion Tunnel and Approaches package – Highways England’s single largest contract ever. The notice for two major roads packages will be released early in 2021.
The SME Directory can be found on the Lower Thames Crossing website here.
(Picture – Highways England)