Highways Sector Council officially launched in UK amid Covid-19 crisis

The recently formed Highways Sector Council (HSC) has been officially launched in the UK amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The council, which first came together in September last year, will work to facilitate collaboration between the highway sector and the central and state governments.

In addition, the council is expected to support innovation in the sector and drive economic and social benefits for the partners.

HSC members include highways contractors, local authority organisations and national agencies, including CIHT.

Highways Sector Council chair Leon Daniels said: “The Council was established to transform how the highways sector delivers.“ In creating this powerful alliance, we want to drive through change by addressing the challenges we face as a sector including decarbonisation, new technologies, skills, investment and delivery models.

The council has also formed a Covid-19 focus working group that will work to address the challenges, primarily in the highway sector, posed by the outbreak.

The Covid-19 focus group is currently working to develop guidance for the sector that will help stakeholders to ensure the delivery of maintenance and capital schemes.

It will also deliver a set of advice that will help highway operators carry out necessary tasks complying with government-mandated restrictions.

CIHT chief executive Sue Percy said: “CIHT is pleased to be a founding member of the Highways Sector Council. “We are committed to working as part of the Council to support the transformation of the highways sector through coming together in partnership to help address some key challenges.”

 


Senior leaders launch Highways Sector Council amid COVID-19

The recently formed Highways Sector Council (HSC), which has been working with Government to support the highways sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been now formally launched.

The Council, a partnership of private and public sector organisations, first came together in September 2019, and has been recently recognised by the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps. Partners include the UK’s leading highways contractors, local authority organisations and national agencies.

The Council has been created to help transform delivery in the highways sector, using a unified voice and approach so the industry can work in greater partnership with central and local government. It aims to drive innovation across the sector to deliver economic, environmental and social benefits for business, communities and all road users.

"The Council was established to transform how the highways sector delivers. In creating this powerful alliance, we want to drive through change by addressing the challenges we face as a sector including decarbonisation, new technologies, skills, investment and delivery models" - Leon Daniels OBE

Its work has been focused on developing a collaborative approach to transform and improve how the sector works across a number of key areas: people and skills, innovation, safety, environment, value, investment and delivery models. While this work continues, the HSC has also responded swiftly to the challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak, particularly in the local highways sector,creating a COVID-19 focus working group.The group has been working closely with the Department for Transport, collating information and providing guidance on impacts with a focus on working towards building a stronger programme for recovery to support the sector and the wider economy.

To address immediate impacts, the COVID-19 group has focused on two key areas:

  1. Developing guidance that could be used by local highway authorities and the wider supply chain to enable greater delivery of maintenance and capital schemes.
  2. Practical guidance designed to enable the highways sector to operate safely within the current restrictions when working on local highways.

Given that some local roads programmes have been reduced or paused, the outputs of this work will support the sector in bringing forward maintenance and highways projects, where it is safe and practical,to ensure that our roads can be maintained and remain fit for purpose during this crisis and beyond.

Leon Daniels OBE, Chair of the Highways Sector Council said: “The Council was established to transform how the highways sector delivers. In creating this powerful alliance, we want to drive through change by addressing the challenges we face as a sector including decarbonisation, new technologies, skills, investment and delivery models.

“COVID-19 hasn’t changed this commitment, but it has given a new urgency to our work, enabling us to work swiftly and collectively during this time of national crisis.

“As a partnership, our work in providing the Government with critical data and advice in this rapidly changing time is vital, both to keep our workforce safe and to support the development of rapidly changing policy-making.”