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Still going strong after 30 issues

The May/June issue of Infrastructure Intelligence is the 30th edition of the print magazine. Editor Andy Walker reflects on a significant milestone for the publication.

Exactly four years ago, in May 2014, Infrastructure Intelligence published its first ever issue. The front cover featured a smiling HS2 boss David Higgins, who had just seen the second reading of the HS2 bill approved by parliament. In an editorial, Issue 01 of the magazine highlighted the potential for major infrastructure projects to create enormous national benefit and we have sought to highlight that benefit over the last 30 issues.

Publishing 30 issues as well as a topical and up-to-date website for four years is no mean achievement. Throughout that time, we have given a platform to the key issues - business and political - facing the industry and interviewed many of the personalities that make the infrastructure business such a fascinating place to work in.

From that very first issue we set out our stall to highlight the key benefits that a healthy and vibrant infrastructure sector brings to society. We’ve done this by showcasing major projects like Heathrow, the strategic highways programme and major schemes on the rail network, but also increasingly by trying to show the economic and social benefit that the sector brings and why politicians should do all they can to ensure that infrastructure is properly planned and above all funded.

 The first issue of Infrastructure Intelligence.

Politics and politicians has certainly been a running theme, particularly over the past two years of Infrastructure Intelligence. When I took over the editor’s chair in July 2016 (issue 19) our front page led with “Brexit – what does it really mean?” Talk about a baptism of fire for your first issue! Two years down the line, do we yet know what Brexit really means for the industry - and the country? I’m not sure that we do.

I wrote back then that it was “hard to overstate the impact of the UK referendum decision to leave the EU” and that the “pace of events, political and economic since the result was declared has been truly astonishing”. I think it’s fair to say that the pace of events since then has continued to be frantic, but at times of uncertainty, it is vital that we promote strongly the role of infrastructure investment as a way to stabilise and grow the economy and give confidence to businesses.

At Infrastructure Intelligence, we have continued to do that by enthusiastically highlighting the good things that the industry is doing but also not shying away when things go wrong. The Carillion collapse earlier this year which is continuing to have far reaching ramifications for the sector is just one example where we have asked the difficult questions of industry leaders and politicians to help map out a clear way forward.

The past four years have seen many changes which continue to challenge the industry. We look forward to reporting on those challenges as businesses and the people who work in them grapple with issues like digital transformation, automation, diversity and inclusion, increasing devolution and regionalisation and who knows what else in the months and years ahead.

As one of the most important industry sectors in the UK, infrastructure has never been more important. With both major political parties convinced of that importance in creating economic prosperity and keeping the national economy buoyant, there’s never been a better time to be writing about the sector.

A massive thank you to everyone - companies, interviewees and contributors - who have helped get us to our 30th issue. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Here’s to the next 30!

Andy Walker is the editor of Infrastructure Intelligence.