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Infrastructure matters

By [email protected] - 21st December 2017 - 15:41

While shiny new capital projects with eye-watering budgets tend to grab the headlines – £600 billion of public and private expenditure over the next decade according to the government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority1 – the nation’s economic wellbeing is equally dependent on maintaining, renewing and making safe what already exists. And geotech has no less a role to play here. For example, and as Daniel McGrogan relates on page 40, laser scanning is proving indispensable to The Coal Authority in locating and assessing the risk of ground subsidence in once-thriving coal mining areas. Again, Tareq Khodabacksh explains on page 42 how a remote wireless condition monitoring solution brought speed and safety to the task of reinforcing a storm-battered sea wall and restoring the adjacent rail service. Britain’s roads, too, need constant attention, and an article from Rachel Corfield on page 46 outlines how one enterprising local authority is using new software to back its invest-to-save approach to highways maintenance. The Office for National Statistics valued the national infrastructure at £519 billion at 2014 prices, but its response to a FOI request that sought a figure for the cost of maintaining it was rather less precise. ‘Public sector expenditure data is not available at the level of detail needed, therefore, it is not possible to provide you with a figure for the operational cost.’ Just as well, then, that the government is now committed to embedding best practice asset management and whole life principles from the private and regulated sectors in public sector infrastructure projects and programmes. 1.

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