Six private sector infrastructure giants have signed a ground-breaking agreement aimed at realising the economic potential in and around the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge growth corridor.
The Memorandum Of Understanding has been signed with England's Economic Heartland (EEH) – an alliance of local transport authorities and LEPs stretching from Swindon across to Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire down to Hertfordshire. It provides the region's voice on strategic infrastructure and services, and is an emerging Sub-national Transport Body.
The MOU will see Kier, WSP, Jacobs, Ringway Jacobs, Skanska and Volker Fitzpatrick working collaboratively to provide technical advice to EEH on its work programme, ensuring its commissions offer best value for money and benefit from the latest thinking and technological developments.
Known collectively as the Strategic Delivery Partners Group, all six companies currently provide services and works for one or more of the councils which make up EEH, following their respective competitive tender processes.
EEH will work with the group to commission technical work and studies in support of the development and implementation of the overarching Transport Strategy - starting with a study of road and rail freight across the region, which will be produced by WSP and Jacobs.
England's Economic Heartland chairman, Cllr Martin Tett, said: "This ground-breaking collaboration ensures England's Economic Heartland benefits from having access to expert advice when identifying infrastructure priorities, developing proposals and, in due course, delivering them. As work on our overarching Transport Strategy is taken forward the delivery partners group will be a key partner, providing guidance and advice on potential investments, which will be crucial in accelerating delivery of strategic infrastructure in the region."
Steve Kent, the group's independent facilitator, said: "The Strategic Delivery Partners all recognise the enormous opportunity for economic growth in the region and want to play a leading role in realising that potential. The MOU cements their real determination to work collaboratively over the long-term, to ensure growth is well-planned and with appropriate infrastructure that benefits communities and businesses throughout the region."
In the picture, back row, left to right: Duncan Atkins, Proposals Director, Volker Fitzpatrick; Mike O'Neill, Managing Director, Ringway Jacobs; Chris Bell, UK Operations Director – Local Government, WSP; Martin Duffy, Collaboration & Improvement Director, Kier; Darren Cook, Director of Operations (Client Account Manager for Local Government), Jacobs; Adrian Cooke, Managing Director, Skanska
Front: Cllr Martin Tett, Chairman, England's Economic Heartland