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AA boss shortlisted for economics prize for ‘road miles’ allowance plan

Edmund King hoping his annual allowance idea will win £250,000 Wolfson Economics prize, which sought ideas from around the world on improving roads.

A proposal from the boss of the AA for drivers to receive an annual “road miles” allowance is among the ideas shortlisted for a £250,000 competition to find new ways of funding the UK road network.

Edmund King, the president of the motoring organisation, has appeared on a shortlist of five entries to win the Wolfson Economics prize, this year awarded for ideas on how to fund better, more reliable roads.

The submission, authored jointly with his wife, the business analyst Deirdre King, envisages a future where drivers receive an annual allowance of “road miles”. As well as trading them, drivers could pay for the right to travel further by entering auctions or lotteries, which would raise more income to maintain the network.

Other ideas include allowing companies to name roads after themselves as an incentive for them to ensure they are pothole-free.

Additional road miles would be granted to drivers with special needs and those with the cleanest, greenest vehicles, King said. “It’s a way of giving free access to the road network but safeguarding further revenues rather than introducing a nationwide charging system that would be political suicide,” he said.

The Kings are joined on the shortlist by an eclectic mix of transport planners from Australia, a Hungarian graduate and a stay-at-home mother who is expecting her third child imminently.

Sir John Kingman, the chairman of the judging panel, said that the hundred-plus entries, which were submitted anonymously to judges including the former Labour chancellor and transport secretary Alistair Darling, contained some “quite funky ideas”, with a Harvard professor among those who had just failed to make the cut.

He said the best entrants had thought deeply about the imminent technological future of autonomous cars, as well as the problem of how to fund roads with fuel and motoring taxes in long-term decline.

Kingman said: “The problem of congestion is very real right now. Motorists are understandably discontented and the existing ways of paying for roads are broken. What we need is a politically viable solution which is popular and the public can see is good for them.

“This is one of the great unsolved policy problems that has plagued British debates for a long time.”

A study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies for the RAC Foundation forecast that Treasury revenues from motorists are due to drop by more than a third to £25bn by the end of the next decade, making a £250,000 award seem cheap at the price.

King said they were not counting any chickens at this stage, but admitted: “An electric car, a Tesla, would be nice.”

The winner of the prize will be announced in July.


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South East Water begin work to replace 7.5km pipeline in ambitious upgrade

Work starts on the water pipe at Lower Farnham Road

Work starts on the water pipe at Lower Farnham Road

A multi-million pound scheme to safeguard water supplies in Aldershot , Ash and Farnham ‘for generations to come’ got underway this week.

South East Water (SEW) is embarking on an ambitious project to lay a new 7.5km pipeline from Aldershot to its service reservoir along the A31 Hog’s Back.

Work got underway on Monday, following extensive preparatory work and public consultation earlier this year, which will see road closures and diversions put in place for the best part of 18 months.

SEW is proposing to invest more than £400m in its water network through 2020, with the scheme affecting the Surrey-Hampshire border set to be one of its most extensive.

The 7.5km works will be carried out by contractor Cla

Clancy Docwra and has been split into three distinct phases.

SEW’s aim is to install a new pipeline running from the company’s storage reservoir in Boxall’s Lane, Aldershot, all the way to the service reservoir near the A31.

This will see works run from Aldershot, beneath the A331 Blackwater Valley Route into Tongham (phase one), and eastwards to Ash Green (phase two).

There, the project will turn 90 degrees southwards and run to the reservoir near the A31 (phase three).

SEW is hoping to have the full upgrade completed by November 2016.

On Monday, workmen arrived in Tongham Road, Aldershot, and began work near Connaught School, with works also ongoing in nearby Lower Farnham Road.

The workforce has been divided into two groups, the first aiming to complete the work in Tongham Road by Christmas, although SEW is aiming to finish up in the Connaught School area before the end of the school holidays.

A second troop working in Lower Farnham Road will progress towards its junction with Boxalls Lane and Morland Road by Christmas this year.

They will then complete the Aldershot leg of the project by mid-April 2016, working westwards towards SEW’s base in Boxall’s Lane. The crossover into Tongham beneath the A331 will take place in the New Year.

Diversions have been signed posted, and more details of the entire scheme are available from SEW’s website, as well as changes to bus routes and timetables.

The public right of way from Spoil Lane in Tongham to Ash Green Lane West in Ash Green will be closed for the duration of the works.

Businesses and residents have long been bracing themselves for disruption following two public consultations held back in April this year.

While SEW has pledged to keep disruption to a minimum, there were complaints earlier in the year Aldershot was currently being ‘besieged’ by constant utility works, particularly in and around Lower Farnham Road.

It comes just a month after SEW completed an £85,000 project to replace a 350m section of pipeline in Aldershot town centre following six bursts in just five years.

Chris Love, SEW’s delivery manager, said: “Work starts in a number of locations to make sure we get this essential project finished as soon as possible.

“I would like to thank everyone for being patient and bearing with us while we are working in the community. I know road closures are a pain, but the longer term benefits of this pipeline will be felt for generations to come.”

Fact box:

Phase One: Aldershot to A331; Boxalls Lane, Lower Farnham Road, Tongham Road.

Phase Two: Tongham to Ash Green; The Moors, Lambourne Way, Northside, Ash Green Lane West, Ash Green Lane East, Pound Farm Lane.

Phase Three: Ash Green to Hog’s Back; southwards beneath greenspace to A31 carriageway border.

United Utilities shares aqueduct knowledge with New York

United Utilities (UU) is in the middle of a knowledge-sharing exercise with the New York Water Department as the two companies prepare for maintenance work on two of their major aqueducts.

Water Pipes

Water Pipes

Staff from UU have just returned from a visit to New York following a partnership struck up between the two water companies on how they will deal with taking water supply aqueducts offline for maintenance purposes.

The New York Water Department is starting its work preparing for maintenance work on its Catskill aqueduct, which supplies 40 per cent of Manhattan, and is seeking to learn from UU about how to handle the outage of the Haweswater aqueduct.

UU project manager for Haweswater John Butcher toldUtility Week the key areas of knowledge-sharing have been around site security, construction site engineering, and resilience.

He said: “The principles remain the same in terms of operation in that they are gravity systems, and that they’ve been around for a long time and now need some TLC.

“This means taking them out of service and resilience is a big issue in New York as they have three pipelines that supply 9.5 million people.”

Butcher added that UU was “slightly ahead” in its resilience planning because it conducted the first shutdown of the aqueduct two years ago and has a wider variety of water sources and treatment works.

He said resilience planning was now taking place in New York, with lessons from UU on managing water supplies being applied.

Alongside this, the Americans are also keen to learn about what they may find when they inspect the Catskill aqueduct. “They are very keen to find out about our shutdown, what we did and what we found out when we went in for that first inspection,” Butcher said. “They are also keen to find out what our second inspection will find too as they may face some of the same issues.”

Staff from the New York Water Department are due to head to the UK for the second shutdown of the Haweswater aqueduct, scheduled for October, to gain further knowledge on how to operate a shutdown and how to develop resilient water supplies to cope with the aqueduct closure.

New Cardiff Central railway station plans unveiled

The front of the station will be glass but the original entrance will remain

The front of the station will be glass but the original entrance will remain

Fresh plans have been drawn up for the biggest transformation of Cardiff Central railway station since it was built in the 1850s.

Last year, Network Rail released images that included a wave effect roof but this has now been stripped back to a more standard glass-fronted entrance.

There would also be new retail space and a mezzanine floor.



The work coincides with plans to revamp that area of the city centre which is where the new BBC building will be.

A new bus terminal is also being built in the area.

The earliest work on the station could start in 2019 but Network Rail has yet to fully cost the multimillion-pound plans.

Other works at the station are being carried out, including a new south entrance.

Currently, 13 million people use Cardiff Central per year and that figure is expected to grow to 23 million by 2023.

Mark Langman, route managing director for Network Rail Wales, said: “Our railway is carrying almost 50% more passengers than we were 10 years ago and that number is predicted to grow significantly in the years ahead, with up to 32m passengers forecast to use Cardiff Central station by 2043.

“There is still more to do to meet future demand and to build a station fit for a capital city.”

Train station platforms
The platforms will be transformed as part of the revamp
Train station concourse
Overhead walkways and shops will form part of the new-look station

Investors in People


Carrington West are proud to announce being awarded the Investors in People Standard, demonstrating their commitment to realising the potential of their people.

Investors in People is the UK’s leading accreditation for business improvement through people management, and provides a wealth of resources for businesses to innovate, improve and grow, with a focus on good people making great business.

Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People, said: “Achieving the Investors in People standard is something that any organisation should be truly proud of. Working with Investors in People inspires and enables leaders, managers and employees at all levels to build their skills, improve their performance and achieve their potential. We’d like to congratulate Carrington West on their achievement.”

For more information about Investors in People please visit www.investorsinpeople.co.uk

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