2016 preview: Devolution good, dithering bad, says Mathew Riley, Arcadis

For the latest instalment of our 2016 preview, we asked leading industry figures which three things they are most excited about and what they see as the biggest risks.

Mathew Riley, strategy and development director, Arcadis

The three things I’m most excited about are:

Devolution – given my role as ACE’s regional chair for London and the South-east, I’m focusing on the capital. With the devolution agenda, it feels that London is on the cusp of being able to come up with a plan to deliver its ambition, albeit within a government framework, and make real progress – in particular on the provision of housing and infrastructure. A new mayor will clearly want to shape this agenda, but the desire and momentum to make this happen are already there from both the public and private sector. This will require a different way of working, with new solutions to complex problems – it will be tremendously exciting.

Crossrail 2 – the opportunity to secure the funding to take Crossrail 2 forward to complete the planning process, and the wider momentum that this would create. We must avoid a repeat of the Crossrail 1 process.

Transport – I hope to see Transport for London taking a more holistic approach to leveraging the value of its asset base. It is encouraging to hear the language changing about how they plan to maximise the wider development opportunities that, say, station upgrades can bring. This will bring real innovation and value to London. 

The biggest risks as I see them are:

Political change – if a new mayor decides to review the London Infrastructure Plan, then we will lose momentum.

Bureaucracy – if the National Infrastructure Commission becomes another layer of governance for Transport for London, and indeed for Transport for North. The commission needs to be additive to the investment process and not a potential constraint.

Procurement – the existing approach to procurement will need to adapt and use different models for assessment of the value and capability required to deliver this investment.