NTS backing Lighthouse Club in October fundraising drive

An award-winning traffic management business has launched a campaign to ‘draw’ in funds for a construction industry charity close to its heart.

Nationwide Traffic Solutions (NTS) will pledge £5 for every drawing of a traffic management  (TM) scheme that the company completes during October to its 2017/18 chosen charity, Lighthouse Club, which supports construction workers and their families in crisis.

The family-run traffic management company, which chooses a worthy cause each year has selected Lighthouse Club for the second year running.

Lighthouse Club provides financial, legal and emotional support to construction workers and their families whose lives have been affected by injury, illness, death or bereavement. The team has launched the unique campaign in a bid to smash last year’s fundraising total of £1,180.

NTS produces a high volume of TM drawings for its customers, spanning all sectors including utility, construction and security. Its computer-aided design (CAD) designers will be poised at their keyboards throughout October to fulfil requests for traffic management plans from old and new customers.

NTS director Grace Goodall said the campaign was the first of its kind for the company and the team is calling on customers old and new to help surpass last year’s total.

‘This is the first time we have ever done anything like this and think it’s a great way for us to use our strengths to help raise as much as we can for Lighthouse Club,’ he said.

‘The gauntlet has been thrown down and our team are ready and raring to top last year’s total. Roll on October!’

Bill Hill, CEO of the Lighthouse Club construction industry charity, said: ‘It’s great to hear that for the second year in a row we have been chosen by Nationwide Traffic Solutions as their charity of the year. Their ongoing support means that we can continue to offer a financial and emotional lifeline to construction families in crisis via our construction industry helpline.’

NTS in-house designers use the latest CAD software and Cone 10 Designer to outline detailed, scaled traffic management schemes which are implemented by operatives on location. The team turns around drawings for their customers within 48 hours of the request and all plans are designed in accordance with Chapter 8 and CDM regulations.

To make a donation to Lighthouse Club, visit the team’s Justgiving page.

The Lighthouse Club is also the Official Charity Partner for the Highways Awards gala evening on Wednesday 18 October.

London private hire firms face hike in licensing fees

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that it will increase licensing fees for private hire operators in a move that will see Uber’s costs soar from under £3,000 to nearly £3m over five years.

The new fee structure will replace the existing two tier system with eight tiers, with charges ranging from around £2,000 for a five-year licence for those with 10 vehicles or fewer, to £464,000 per year for the largest operator.

The cost of applying for a licence for more than 10,000 vehicles will be £580,000, meaning that very large operators like Uber will have to pay £2.9m over five years.

Currently a small operator with no more than two vehicles pays £1,488 and a ‘standard’ operator – those with more than two vehicles, regardless of the size of its fleet – pays £2,826 over five years.

TfL said the new fees more accurately reflect the resources required to regulate firms, based on the size of their operations.

It said its total projected cost for licensing, enforcement and compliance for the taxi and private hire trades over the next five years, which it is entitled to recover from operators, is £209m.

Helen Chapman, general manager of taxi and private hire, said: ‘There has been a huge growth in the industry in recent years and it is only fair that the licence fee reflects the costs of regulation and enforcement.

‘The safety of Londoners is TfL’s top priority, and the changes to fees will help us fund additional compliance officers who do a crucial job cracking down on illegal and dangerous activity.’

TfL said the capital’s private hire industry has grown from 65,000 licensed drivers in 2013/14 to more than 116,000 today while the number of vehicles has increased from 50,000 to 88,000 over the same period.

It said this had led to a substantial increase in the cost of ensuring that private hire operators fulfil their licensing obligations and tackling illegal activity.

M25 firms achieve global asset management standard

The two firms tasked with maintaining the M25 – Connect Plus (CP) and Connect Plus Services (CPS) – have achieved certification to the international standard for asset management.

CPS has a 30-year Design Build Finance and Operate contract with CP on behalf of Highways England. Together, CP and CPS are directly responsible for end-to-end asset management. This includes making decisions on how best to invest £1.7bn in more than 140,000 assets that comprise the M25 network over the 30-year contract.

External auditor Lloyds Register has confirmed that CP and CPS’ integrated asset management system meets the requirements of ISO 55001:2014.

The asset management system is designed to cope with the scale and complexity of the M25 environment. It underpins asset inspection and, through bespoke decision support tools, generates plans to optimise the delivery of around £50m of asset renewal work every year, through a BS 11001 certified framework.

CPS managing director Brian Johns said: ‘We’ve made a significant investment in this system because we could see the benefits in optimising our life cycle interventions over the long duration of our contract. We are in a unique position to offer our expertise to assist other asset managers in the development and operation of an asset management systems that will produce similar long-term benefits to their business.’

The ISO 55001 standard is relatively new and has to date been mainly adopted by airports and water companies in the UK. CPS said its application to the M25 asset management system has helped enhance its system even further. The certification process provided the assurance of an external quality assessment of the system for shareholders and, Highways England.

CPS said the process of aligning with the standard was a fully collaborative exercise between it and CP ensuring integration of all users across all elements of the system and eradicating duplication.

CPS is the maintenance and operating business working on the M25 on behalf of CP. CPS is a consortium of Balfour Beatty, Atkins and Egis Road Operation UK and CP is a consortium comprising Balfour Beatty, Edge Orbital and Egis Road Operation UK.




First phase of £380m A1 upgrade to open after delays

The first phase of the £380m A1 Leeming to Barton upgrade will open to traffic at the end of the week but full completion of the project has again been delayed.

Highways England said that from Friday (22 September) the southern section between junction 51 at Leeming and junction 52 at Catterick will become a three-lane motorway and current speed restrictions will be lifted.

However, it said the planned completion date for the scheme has now been put back and the scheme will now be fully open by winter 2017/18. It was originally planned to be finished in June, which was then put back to the end of the year.

Highways England project manager Tom Howard said: ‘We are pleased to be able to open this section ahead of the main completion to give drivers the benefits of motorway standards as well as smoother and safer journeys.

‘This is an important milestone and means we are now halfway to completing this major scheme on this vitally important route.

‘Over the autumn period our focus will be on the remainder of the project including completing the local access road between Scotch Corner and Brompton-on-Swale and opening the new Fort Bridge which will provide and new east – west link to Catterick for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.’

Highways England said that once Fort Bridge is fully open by the middle of November, the next major milestones will be the opening of the motorway between Scotch Corner interchange and junction 56 at Barton, and between Catterick junction and Scotch Corner interchange.

It said complicated ground conditions have impacted on the method used to stabilise the embankment near the River Swale, which has resulted in an extension to the planned completion date. It is ‘working with contractors to resolve the issue as quickly as possible’.

Once finished, the full scheme will complete the ‘missing link’ of motorway between London and Newcastle, using the M1 and A1 (M).