CECA warns on suspension of conditional approvals for all major local transport schemes

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) has reacted with alarm to the government’s suspension of approvals on all major local authority transport projects, warning of the risks of cutting infrastructure investment.

Transport secretary Philip Hammond told the Commons yesterday that the policy of reducing the national debt would require a rethink on all local authority major schemes.

Major schemes guidance and the associated approvals process are being suspended until further notice, and all schemes that were granted conditional approval or programme entry by the previous government are to be reviewed.

“Local authorities will … wish to consider carefully whether investing further time and resources in developing such schemes ahead of the spending review is justified,” said Hammond.

CECA director Rosemary Beales said: “This puts a significant amount of potential work for contractors of all sizes in doubt. The industry will see this as an indication of the shape of things to come.

“Whilst we understand that the deficit needs to be addressed, we urge the Department for Transport and the government not to lose sight of the critical role that transport infrastructure plays in delivering productivity, prosperity and quality of life. They must balance the cuts we know they have to make with the need to invest in infrastructure as a foundation for future growth.”

“Following initial contact with the new government we are now seeking an urgent meeting with the Department for Transport to discuss this. They must maintain a close dialogue with the construction industry throughout this process.”