The new Highways Sector Council (HSC), which has been working with the Government to support the highways sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been formally launched.
The Council, which is a partnership of public and private sector organisations, originally came together last September and has recently been reorganised by Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport. The organisations include the UK’s leading highways contractors, local authority organisations and national agencies.
The Council has been set up to help transform delivery in the highways sector, using a unified voice and approach so the industry can work together in greater partnership with central and local government. It aims to drive innovation across the sector to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits for business, communities and all road users.
Its work has been focused on developing a collaborative approach to transform and improve how the sector works across a number of key areas: people and skills, innovation, safety, environment, value, investment and delivery models. While this work continues, the HSC has also responded swiftly to the challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak, particularly in the local highways sector, creating a COVID-19 focused working group.
The group has been working closely with the Department for Transport, collating information and providing guidance on impacts with a focus on working towards building a stronger programme for recovery to support the sector and the wider economy.
To address immediate impacts, the COVID-19 group has focused on two key areas:
*Developing guidance that could be used by local highway authorities and the wider supply chain to enable greater delivery of maintenance and capital schemes.
*Practical guidance designed to enable the highways sector to operate safely within the current restrictions when working on local highways.
Given that some local roads programmes have been reduced or paused, the outputs of this work will support the sector in bringing forward maintenance and highways projects, where it is safe and practical, to ensure that our roads can be maintained and remain fit for purpose during the crisis and beyond.
Leon Daniels OBE, Chair of the Highways Sector Council said: “The Council was established to transform how the highways sector delivers. In creating powerful alliance, w e want to drive through change by addressing the challenges we face as a sector including decarbonisation, new technologies, skills, investment and delivery models.
“COVID-19 hasn’t changed this commitment, but it has given a new urgency to our work, enabling us to work swiftly and collectively during this time of national crisis. As a partnership, our work in providing the Government with critical data and advice in this rapidly changing time is vital, both to keep our workforce safe and to support the development of rapidly changing policy-making.”
Private sector members include: AECOM, Amey, Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Costain, FM Conway, Eurovia Ringway, Jacobs, Kier, Leon Daniels and Associates, Mott MacDonald, Sir Robert McAlphine, Skanska, Tarmac
Public sector members include: ADEPT, CILT, CIHT, England’s Economic Heartland, Highways England
Supporting members include: Highways UK, LGA