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New highways groups vie for attention

20 Apr Two rival industry groups have been launched during the coronavirus lockdown, both claiming to offer a united voice for the highways sector.

Road industry lobbyists have busy working at home during the lockdown, developing new plans for industry representation. But efforts to provide a single voice for highways has resulted in two voices: the Highways Sector Council and the Highways Industry Alliance

In one group is the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) and tier one contractors; in the other is the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) and signpost makers.

The Highways Sector Council membership also includes the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT) and Highways England, as well as a raft of private companies. Contractors Amey, Balfour Beatty, Costain, FM Conway, Eurovia Ringway, Kier, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska and Tarmac are all part of the new council, along with consultants Aecom, Atkins, Jacobs, Leon Daniels & Associates and Mott MacDonald. Leon Daniels, a former Transport for London (TfL) managing director, is chair of the Highways Sector Council.

The Highways Industry Alliance is made up of seven industry associations, broadly representing the supply chain:

  • Association for Road Traffic Safety and Management (ARTSM)
  • Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) UK
  • Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE)
  • International Signs Association (ISA-UK)
  • Retroreflective Equipment Manufacturers Association (REMA)
  • British Parking Association (BPA)
  • Highways and Construction Training Association (HCTA).

Both organisations have similar aims: to be the voice of the highways sector

The Highways Sector Council (HSC) first came together in September 2019 but has only gone public today – three weeks after the launch of the Highways Industry Alliance.

The Highways Sector Council has already been working with the Department for Transport on guidance for highway contractors to comply with social distancing and Public Health  England guidance during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Leon Daniels, chair of the Highways Sector Council, said: “The Council was established to transform how the highways sector delivers. In creating this powerful alliance, we want to drive through change by addressing the challenges we face as a sector including decarbonisation, new technologies, skills, investment and delivery models.

“Covid-19 hasn’t changed this commitment, but it has given a new urgency to our work, enabling us to work swiftly and collectively during this time of national crisis.

 “As a partnership, our work in providing the government with critical data and advice in this rapidly changing time is vital, both to keep our workforce safe and to support the development of rapidly changing policy-making.”

The Highways Industry Alliance claims to have a broader spread of interests.

“The Highways Industry Alliance is a broad church and we have worked hard to identify the diverse parties that have a common interest in seeing a close liaison between users, industry and government,” said ITS (UK) secretary general, Jennie Martin.  “Our associations and bodies consist of companies across all tiers – large corporations, SMEs and individuals.”

Steve Spender, CEO of the Institute of Highway Engineers, added: “We believe we can contribute to the government industrial strategy and SME agenda. We also think that contractual practices can often disadvantage small firms in the supply chain and that we can offer these organisations a voice.”

The first meeting of the Highways Industry Alliance was conducted virtually, via Zoom, and was attended by Jennie Martin (ITS (UK)), Paul Hutton (ITS (UK)), Steve Spender (IHE),  Kealie Franklin (ARTSM), Mark Pleydell (ARTSM) and Peter Dipper (HCTA).
The first meeting of the Highways Industry Alliance was conducted virtually, via Zoom, and was attended by Jennie Martin (ITS (UK)), Paul Hutton (ITS (UK)), Steve Spender (IHE), Kealie Franklin (ARTSM), Mark Pleydell (ARTSM) and Peter Dipper (HCTA).

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