Response to the Transport Committee's Major Projects inquiry

21 January 2021

RIA has published its response to the Transport Committee's inquiry into Major Transport Projects.

Executive Summary

The UK has extensive experience of major rail project delivery, both new build and working on operational rail network. 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 rail supply chain brings a wealth of global expertise delivering world class projects all around the world.

Our key asks are:

  • Develop 30-year rail investment plans, underpinned by clear and democratically accountable multi-year funding settlements. Continued 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. 
  • Restore confidence in public transport as 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-clienting 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 in 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.
 The Response

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