Following yesterday's Autumn Budget, the 7,800-strong engineering professional services consulting firm WSP responds on:

Potholes

Matthew Lugg, Technical Director at WSP and CIHT President comments: “This will be very welcomed news for cash strapped English local highway authorities who have been struggling to maintain their road networks after all the surface damaged caused by a particularly harsh and prolonged winter. The extra funding for structures is equally important as there is increasing concern about the resilience of many bridges that are now coming to the end of their design life.

"It is important that this funding is targeted to where it is most needed and local authorities are not required to go through a lengthy bidding process.   This extra funding will make a difference, however, there’s a need for a more effective long-term solution to tackle the national maintenance backlog estimated at around £8billon. As CIHT President I’m leading a review (the Lugg Review) into the future options of funding and maintaining local roads in time to feed into the Comprehensive Spending Review in 2019.”

Housing

Ian Shrubsall, Head of Strategic Planning at WSP said: “WSP welcomes Government’s commitment to implementing the Lewin Review in the new year, and the recognition that speculative land banking is not part of the business model for major house builders, or a driver of slow build out rates. We would support a focus on the funding and delivery of infrastructure and servicing to unlock land for development more quickly, and to facilitate multiple starts on sites, with different housing fit for all.

“It’s great to see increase investment in the housing infrastructure fund and extension to the stamp duty threshold which will help us deliver the 650,000 homes the UK needs. Combined with the lifting on borrowing cap placed upon local authorities and the creation of £28.8bn National Roads Fund should help to improve not only the delivery of much needed new homes but also the infrastructure required to support them."

Mental health

Barny Evans, Director - Sustainable Places, Energy and Waste at WSP said: “Tackling Britain’s growing mental health crisis is not for the NHS alone; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Loneliness has been proven to affect people’s physical and mental health is a growing issue in cities and for the past three or four years, WSP has challenged its engineers to tackle it through the built-environment as part of its Future-Ready programme. Befriending, making better use of space and schemes to look out for neighbours are all useful tools but there’s more businesses can do. Designing communal spaces in flats, streets and communities where walking is easier than driving or even car-free, designing in cafes to new developments, placing benches in streets are all simple things that can have big impact. We look forward to supporting the Government in tackling the mental health and loneliness crisis.”

Environment

Barny Evans, Director - Sustainable Places, Energy and Waste at WSP said: “The issue of plastics pollution is important. We support the resistance to responses that aren’t properly considered which could be counter-productive. We know for example that simple changes can increase the recyclability of plastics and introducing tax on single-use plastic manufacturing and import is a step in the right direction. 

"We need to ensure that we continue to find ways to replace single-use plastics and manage the recycling of those that are used in such a way that we do not create future problems. We welcome the opportunity to engage with the government and our clients to respond to the consultation on how the tax can work to give the best results.”

 

Notes to editor

 

For further information please contact amelie.barrau@wsp.com, 074694012484

 

About WSP:

 WSP is one of the world's leading engineering professional services consulting firms. We are dedicated to our local communities and propelled by international brainpower. We are technical experts and strategic advisors including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. We design lasting solutions in the Property & Buildings, Transportation & Infrastructure, Environment, Industry, Resources (including Mining and Oil & Gas) and Power & Energy sectors as well as project delivery and strategic consulting services.  

With 7,800 talented people in the UK and more than 43,600 globally, we engineer projects that will help societies grow for lifetimes to come. WSP has been involved in many high-profile UK projects including the Shard, Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Manchester Metrolink, M1 Smart Motorway, the re-development of London Bridge Station, and the London Olympic & Paralympic Route Network. www.wsp.com/uk