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Infrastructure plan needs clearer thinking

Thursday 29 November 2012 5:00

The North East could win millions of pounds worth of extra infrastructure investment, if only it could create a more compelling plan to attract funding.

That is according to Edward Twiddy, head of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP), who was speaking at a major conference in Newcastle this week.

The NELEP chief executive told delegates that there is no shortage of available funds to develop the region’s infrastructure – but rather that we need to be ambitious and forward looking whilst also demonstrating how we can prioritise and plan viable development projects.

He called for more collaboration between different industry organisations and clients within the North East to ensure that the region doesn’t miss out on the spending that it needs to drive recovery and growth.

He also called for the region to use the chance that Lord Adonis's independent review represents to get its message to the heart of Government.

Twiddy was speaking at the Association of Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) Roadshow at St James’ Park.

Delegates also heard from Crispin Williams of the ACE who reflected on the London 2012 Olympics as a “fantastic demonstration of UK engineering on a global scale”.

He said his organisation – and others such as civil engineering contractors body CECA which was also represented at the event – needed to collaborate more with other parties to develop an improved infrastructure framework.

The event – which was focused on the importance of infrastructure for the North East – also highlighted the Business Information Modelling (BIM) initiative.

BIM involves the creation of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of a facility with the results being shared between architects, engineers and clients to make the projects more efficient.

The discussion came ahead of new government legislation that means by 2016 UK engineering firms working on government projects would have to adopt the BIM practice.