The Highways Sector Council (HSC) has announced its official launch and revealed it has been 'collating information and providing guidance' for the Department for Transport on the impacts of COVID-19, with a focus on developing a recovery programme.
The group, which announced its formal launch, brings together a range of Tier One companies, Highways England and professional bodies such as the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT).
HSC's existence was first revealed by Highways. It was born out of a desire to form a sector deal with the Government for the highways sector and outlined its plans to the transport secretary Grant Shapps in February.
In a statement, HSC said: 'The group has been working closely with the Department for Transport, collating information and providing guidance on impacts with a focus on working towards building a stronger programme for recovery to support the sector and the wider economy.
'To address immediate impacts, the COVID-19 group has focused on two key areas:
- Developing guidance that could be used by local highway authorities and the wider supply chain to enable greater delivery of maintenance and capital schemes
- Practical guidance designed to enable the highways sector to operate safely within the current restrictions when working on local highways
It added that some local roads programmes 'have been reduced or paused' and that its work would support the sector in bringing forward maintenance and highways projects, where it is safe and practical, to ensure that our roads can be maintained and remain fit for purpose during this crisis and beyond.
Leon Daniels OBE, chair of the HSC 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 HSC is also hoping to secure a sector deal with the DfT.
Private sector members include: AECOM, Amey, Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Costain, FM Conway, Eurovia Ringway, Jacobs, Kier, Leon Daniels and Associates Ltd, Mott MacDonald, Sir Robert McAlpine, Skanska, Tarmac.
Public sector members include: Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT), Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT), Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT), England’s Economic Heartland, Highways England.