Message from the editor | Issue 01 | May 14

Antony Oliver

The potential for major infrastructure projects to create enormous national economic benefit is clear from the articles in this, the launch issue of Infrastructure Intelligence. But so is the challenge of delivery.

Steely determination, persuasive powers and ability by promoters and politicians to weather setbacks and react to the needs of local communities are all vital ingredients in turning ideas into reality.

Twenty years ago the UK and France opened the long awaited Channel Tunnel, a project first mooted in 1805 and which took considerable effort to deliver the vital infrastructure we now know. Today we are pressing forward with a similarly grand project in High Speed 2 a project, itself not without controversy but of equal national importance.

HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins is very clear about his ambitions for the project as “a catalyst for fundamental change”. And without question he has to be.

The resounding 452 votes to 41 support signalled by politicians in last month’s second reading of the HS2 hybrid Bill was a massive boost. But as Higgins and the whole project knows, it is just a start.

As with all infrastructure projects in the UK, the democratic process means that ahead lies a huge amount of debate. Central to winning that debate will be the ability to demonstrate how that fundamental change will manifest itself in peoples’ lives beyond the London focus.

By all accounts we are seeing cities across the UK start to prepare to take advantage of this major public investment and that work must continue at pace to be ready for a 2026 opening.

As a country we face a choice, says Higgins, between status quo and strategic opportunity. We must sell the benefits of infrastructure hard and early to ensure that right choices are made and that we embrace the opportunity.

Antony Oliver, Editor, Infrastructure Intelligence

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