Duncan Symonds, head of infrastructure at WSP commented:

“Every Budget and Autumn Statement we get some sort of appendix update about the national infrastructure plan and it strikes me that it would be more informative to know which individual government departments are pulling their weight and which are delaying the delivery of important projects. I suspect the name and shame approach would have more impact in unlocking stalled projects than another updated list of projects and finance initiatives, and of course coming up to election Government performance will be paramount. However the success of such a reporting exercise would depend on there being a consequence for those scoring poorly.”

He added on the subject of potholes: “The £200m for potholes is a knee jerk reaction, and while welcome because there are urgent repairs needed due to the flooding, if there was better long-term funding we could potentially avoid the problem in the first place. The road repairs backlog already stands at £10.5billion and to avoid it getting worse local authorities need funding to undertake regular resurfacing which will save money in the long-run.”

Flooding – head of water at consultancy WSP – Ola Holmstrom commented:

“The recent storms have damaged many flood defence structures so it is encouraging to see that the Government have recognised that additional funding is needed to return the UK defences to a status quo.

“However a much more substantial investment will be required to facilitate the fundamental societal change needed to meet the threat of a more violent weather pattern in future, fuelled by climate change. We need funds to bolster and diversify the way we deal with the threats of flooding, and we need long term strategic vision for how to do this coupled with the best of Britain innovation to come up with technical solutions instead of expecting old cures to fix new problems.  “Not least we need funding to allow for the consequences of the very hard land sacrifice choices we will have to make to accommodate increasing flood flows in the future.”

Carbon price floor & Energy Efficiency

 Responding to the capping of the carbon floor price at £18 for the rest of the decade in the 2014 Budget, WSP’s UK head of environment Mark Hurley said:

“The Chancellor is right to focus on energy costs but there are bigger savings to be made than capping the carbon floor price. Government forecasts that home energy bills will be £310 higher in real terms by 2018/19, largely driven by higher oil prices. Capping the carbon floor price will save families £15 a year, but supporting the simplest of energy efficiency measures, such as heating controls, insulation and draught proofing will cut energy use by 10% and save £150 a year- more than ten times the amount from the carbon floor price saving.

WSP workings:

DECC average home electricity bill £509, paying 15.2 p /kwh in 2013.  Forecast ‘reference scenario’ that this will rise to 19.1p/kwh in 2018 and 20.0p/kwh in 2019.  Equates to a bill of £647


DECC average home gas bill £845, paying 4.4p/kwh in 2013.  DECC energy forecast ‘reference scenario’ that this will to rise to 5.2p/kwh in 2018 and 5.3p/kwh in 2019.  Equates to a bill of £1016


If 10% savings are found through energy efficiency measures:

2018/2019 prices electricity: £647 x 0.9 = 582. Saving of £65

2018/19 prices gas: £1016 x 0.9 = 914. Saving of £102

Total saving = £167

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Contact Media Manager Emily Beadon 020 7314 4644 or emily.beadon@wspgroup.com


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