Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Lack of investment poses threat to regional infrastructure

A lack of investment in North East infrastructure could have devastating consequences for companies working in the sector, according to the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA).

Out of the £5 billion pledged to infrastructure projects across the UK by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement, only £1.2 million will be spent in the North East to make improvements to the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone.

It is also unlikely that any of the money will be spent on expanding the Tyne & Wear Metro or the electrification of the Transpennine Express - areas of infrastructure which could be of real benefit to the region.

In a open letter to North East MPs and the Transport Select Committee, the CECA also called for them to approve two longstanding projects, the Wear crossing bridge in Sunderland, and the Morpeth bypass.

These projects would significantly improve traffic flow in the region, and are among 25 remaining local transport projects that the government will decide on later this month.

Douglas Kell, CECA’s director in the North East commented: “The Sunderland and Morpeth projects are both able to go ahead at once if the Government’s share of investment is made immediately avaialable.

“But should these two vital projects be blocked, we fear the long-term damage to industry employment in this region will take years to repair.”

The North East construction industry has been harder hit than any other area of the country, witnessing a downturn of more than 27%. If the projects in the region are not approved, this will come as a massive blow to many businesses in the area.

Douglas added: “I don’t consider it an exaggeration to say three weeks remain in which to save North East infrastructure activity from further crisis.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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