Flood defence contract delayed after West Coast Mainline fiasco

THE ENVIRONMENT Agency is to relaunch the competition for a major contract to build flood defences after the process was delayed by the West Coast Mainline fiasco.

The procurement process was delayed after last year’s decision to award control of one of the country’s main railway routes to FirstGroup. Existing operator Virgin Rail successfully challenged the decision in the court, highlighting major issues with the tendering process for large government contracts such as the flood defences.

More than a dozen bidders are thought to be interested in the flood defence contract and now face additional costs associated with adjusting their bids.

A spokesperson for the agency said: “We have slightly delayed this procurement process in order to give complete transparency to bidders and will be re-issuing the invitation to tender on 26 February. The new framework will be awarded in June 2013.”

“We do not believe that delivery of f lood defence projects will be held up by the re-tendering and are confident that the amount of new work which bidders are required to do will be minimal.”

Meanwhile discussions are ongoing on a new deal to guarantee f lood insurance for all homes in Britain, with Conservative minister Oliver Letwin locked in discussions with industry representatives.