The Construction Centre Highlights Concerns Over Thames Gateway Regeneration Project

Plans for the huge regeneration project in the Thames Gateway area received a mixed response last week. The project, which could be the largest of its kind in Europe, is set to cost around 9 billion pounds and span 40 miles along the Thames.

Kenilworth, United Kingdom, December 14, 2007 --( Gordon Brown, when addressing The Thames Gateway Forum last week, said that the project would not only fulfill the 2016 environmental targets but also provide work for many of the people who are currently unemployed in the area.

The Thames regeneration project aims to be an “eco region” which is also water neutral. This means that the housing will have a low or zero carbon footprint and due to water saving devices installed in existing and new homes, there will be no need for additional water supplies to the area, making it water neutral.

The Government also plans to use the Olympic site to become the National Skills Academy for Construction, however it is widely known there is already a shortage of skills in the industry and Gordon Brown acknowledged this saying “because we know there is no point in creating new jobs if there are no skilled workers to fill them, the LSC (Learning Skills Council) has developed a Thames Gateway Skills Plan to help local people develop the skills needed to fill the new jobs on offer.”

The project aims to create over 180,000 new jobs by 2016, however contractors have warned that so far the regeneration plans have not been clearly thought out, which could lead to severe delays and problems in the longer term. It has already been implied that the government has not yet arranged management systems for the project or considered budget implications and contractors are worried that infrastructure has not been properly thought out before other areas such as housing and jobs.

Richard Simmons Managing Director at the Construction Centre said, “As with all government initiative announcements there is a long way to go before the reality is achieved. The government should rely on the construction industry as a partner in this case and source of help at this stage and not alienate it from proposals. The Thames Gateway regeneration is an ambitious project and needs to be carefully broken down into reasonable sized targets and timescales in order to achieve eventual completion.”

The Construction Centre stated that the Thames Gateway project could be a first class example to the rest of the world in sustainable building but stressed that careful planning and management would be needed in order to take into account of the impact on the environmental, economic and social outcomes.

The Construction Centre
Angela Gallacher
01926 865825