THE North East could win millions of pounds worth of infrastructure investment by creating a compelling plan to attract funding, according to the head of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.
Edward Twiddy has made the call at a major conference in Newcastle this week hosted by consultancy and engineering group the Association of Consultancy and Engineering (ACE).
The LEP chief executive told a delegates roadshow at St James’ Park that there was no shortage of available funds to develop the region’s infrastructure – but that the North East needed to be ambitious and forward- looking while demonstrating how we can prioritise and plan viable development projects.
Mr Twiddy called for more collaboration between different industry organisations and clients within the North East to ensure that the region doesn’t miss out on the spending that it needs to drive recovery and growth, and for the area to use the chance that Lord Adonis’s independent review represents to get our message to the heart of Government.
ACE regional chairman David Hodgson, who also runs Darlington-based AMP Consultants, said: “We had a great turnout at the event and it was great to hear from Edward Twiddy, especially his reassurances about available funding for infrastructure investment.
“The overriding message from the event is that we need more collaboration in our industry and with our clients if we are to help the region return to growth.”
Delegates also heard from Crispin Williams of the ACE who reflected on the London 2012 Olympics as a “fantastic demonstration of UK engineering on a global scale”.
He said his organisation – and others such as civil engineering contractors body CECA which was also represented at the event – needed to collaborate more with other parties to develop an improved infrastructure framework.
The event – which was focused on the importance of infrastructure for the North East – also highlighted the Business Information Modelling initiative.
Business Information Modelling involves the creation of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of a facility with the results being shared between architects, engineers and clients to make the projects more efficient.
The discussion came ahead of new legislation that means by 2016 UK engineering firms working on government projects would have to adopt the BIM practice.
Kevin Ricketts, CFE business development manager at Schneider Electric, which sponsored the event, added: “It’s fantastic to support this event.
“We work closely with ACE members in helping them to meet the challenges of addressing CO² problems.”