Engineers call for action now on roads and air

 
Marion Dakers
TRANSPORT minister Stephen Hammond defended the coalition’s track record on infrastructure spending yesterday following the release of a critical report from the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE).

The ICE said “an absence of clear, strategic thinking” is undermining the country’s big transport projects.

The industry group called on the government to halt an “alarming decline” in the quality of Britain’s roads and set out a long-term funding plan for the Highways Agency, which has seen its budget cut by a third.

Hammond was tight-lipped about which of his department’s schemes might be hit by the chancellor’s spending review next week.

However, he said at the ICE event that infrastructure is “central to the coalition’s strategy for growth” and that projects were moving forward after “years of inaction”, such as the A11 upgrade and High Speed 2.

As the ICE urged the government to decide on its preferred hub airport this year, Hammond said: “Make no mistake about the determination to keep the UK as Europe’s main hub. I don’t believe [commissioning the Davies report, due in 2015] is kicking this into the long grass, in fact it’s exactly the opposite.”

Meanwhile Transport for London warned yesterday that a reduction in its budget could jeopardise the revamp of Bank station.

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