logo for UK Construction Blog

Blog Details

Read the Latest News on UK Develops Hydrogen Vehicles for Carbon-neutral Farms and Building, West London’s Hs2 Micro Power Tunnel Finished, Effects of UK Construction and Civil Engineering on Growth, and How the Spring Budget 2024 Affects UK Building

In today’s UK construction news, we will look into the Hydrogen vehicles being introduced in the United Kingdom in an effort to reduce carbon emissions in the agricultural and construction industries. While this was going on, the micro power tunnel for HS2 was finished in West London. In addition, the influence that English construction and civil engineering have had on the expansion of the nation. In addition, learning about the Spring Budget 2024 and what it implies for the building industry in the United Kingdom.  

UK Develops Hydrogen Vehicles for Carbon-neutral Farms and Building

Original Source: UK introduces hydrogen vehicles to decarbonise farming and construction sectors

In agriculture and construction, the UK government aims to use hydrogen vehicles.

Hydrogen vehicles like tractors, diggers, and forklifts will help these sectors go greener, according to new government regulations released today.

The agricultural and construction sectors emit much carbon. Decarbonising UK economy-critical industries using hydrogen vehicles is possible.

The four-week survey is closed on 24 April and will allow hydrogen-powered tractors, diggers, and forklifts on UK roadways.

“Allowing hydrogen-powered tractors, diggers and forklifts to use our roads is a common-sense move to help reduce emissions,” said UK Technology and Decarbonisation Minister Anthony Browne.

This cutting-edge hydrogen technology will be more inexpensive and common thanks to skilled jobs in British companies, which are part of our aim to decarbonise transport in the UK.

Advantages of hydrogen cars

In agricultural and construction, tractors and digger excavators are essential, yet they emit greenhouse gases.

The promise of hydrogen fuel cell technology is environmental and operational benefits for these vital industries.

H2 vehicles emit no tailpipe emissions. On farms and construction sites, cleaner air improves worker and community health. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions, fighting climate change.

Fuel cells are quieter than combustion engines. Operations are calmer and surrounding people and wildlife hear less noise. In noisy settings or at night, this is beneficial.

Modern hydrogen fuel cells can last as long as diesel cars, allowing farmers and construction workers to complete a full shift. Similar refuelling periods to diesel or petrol will reduce downtime.

Farming and construction require tremendous torque and power, which hydrogen cars provide. H2 vehicles can power huge loads, hydraulic machinery, and rough terrain.

Solar and wind power can power hydrogen fuel manufacturing, producing a sustainable transportation cycle. Green practices in agriculture and building are developing.

Hydrogen infrastructure UK commitment

JCB was granted a special order by the government last year to test hydrogen-powered diggers on UK roads.

The proposed extension of this authorization indefinitely will allow manufacturers to efficiently produce sustainable equipment, especially when battery electric power is not practical.

Hydrogen, like electric electricity, is a sustainable fuel that can accelerate decarbonisation.

Green hydrogen in transport is demonstrated by the government-backed Tees Valley Hydrogen Hub, creating jobs, apprenticeships and economic growth in the region.

West London’s HS2 Micro Power Tunnel Finished

Original Source: HS2: Micro power tunnel completed in West London

For HS2 development, UK Power Networks and Barhale created a micro power tunnel under the Grand Union Canal in West London.

The 125m tunnel runs under the Grand Union Canal to an Atlas Road substation.

For the tunnel, UK Power hired civil engineering, infrastructure, and tunnelling expert Barhale. This will transport power cables for HS2’s tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will dig the high-speed train tunnels from Old Oak Common to Euston.

UK Power Networks’ nearby substation will feed three new high-voltage cable circuits of about 3 km into the network that will power the manned TBMs.

HS2’s 45 MVA electrical supply comes from UK Power Networks.

It took 6m diameter and 15m deep launch and receiving shafts for the Akkerman TBM to launch and excavate the 120m canal tunnel.

Pipe-jacked pre-cast concrete sections built the tunnel.

Regional manager Ovi Frunza called microtunnelling “another key piece in the HS2 jigsaw”.

He added: “We are pleased to continue to contribute to HS2 project construction. Along the route, we are doing important diversionary work at Ruislip and enabling work at the London terminus.

The completion of the micro tunnel allows UK Power Networks and HS2 to finish the final leg of the 33,000V cable path, according to Barhale.

HS2 utilities chief Niki French said: “Installing this power tunnel is crucial to our plan to build the new high-speed railway into London. Our strong collaboration and great teamwork have kept HS2 on track.”

UK Power Networks capital programme manager Pamela Ali said: “Building the micro-tunnel to install our circuits across the Grand Union Canal safely and successfully has been a success. Thanks to HS2 and the Canal & River Trust for their support.”

SCS JV builds HS2’s London tunnels.

According to SCS Utilities’ Jaione Echeveste, “HS2, UK Power Networks, and its contractors have worked tirelessly with key stakeholders to design and deliver this plan.

The passion and responsibility shown by all partners during the project helped us to achieve this essential outcome.”

The Atlas Road logistics tunnel was constructed two months before the micro power tunnel.

To finish the 853m logistics tunnel from Old Oak Common station to HS2’s Atlas Road logistics hub, a TBM broke through in January.

Supplies for the Euston tunnel will be transported through the tunnel.

Later this year, the SCS JV will lower two more TBMs into the Old Oak Common station box, which Balfour Beatty Vinci Systra is building. After the government approves, the team will assemble and bury the two TBMs beneath Old Oak Common to start boring the Euston tunnel. Two 140m-long, 2,000t TBMs will drive towards Euston.

The government delayed Euston station delivery, delaying construction on the 7.2km tunnel between Old Oak Common and Euston station.

Euston station is set to receive private funding after the government cut the northern segment of HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester in October.

Effects of UK Construction and Civil Engineering on Growth

Original Source: The Impact of UK Construction and Civil Engineering on National Growth

Building and civil engineering drive economic growth in the UK’s bustling cities and tranquil countryside. This industry supports the nation’s infrastructure, from skyscrapers to transport networks, signalling and driving its prosperity. The UK’s construction sector and economy are interconnected, and modern engineering trends and sustainability, especially steel reinforcement, drive this dynamic.

Groundwork for Growth: Construction

The construction and civil engineering sector employs millions of people in the UK and influences manufacturing and services. Investment in infrastructure signals confidence and multiplies economic activity, making it a barometer for the economy. Projects that use steel reinforcement support buildings, bridges, and the economy.

Sustainability of Modern Engineering Steel

Construction has prioritised sustainability in recent years. Greener practices are both environmentally friendly and economically beneficial. The unmatched recyclability and strength of steel exemplifies this trend. Steel reinforcement in construction projects signals durability and sustainability, reducing waste and energy consumption throughout infrastructure projects. This approach supports global sustainability goals and eliminates frequent repairs and replacements, boosting long-term economic benefits.

Boosting Jobs and Innovation

UK civil engineers are pioneers in smart infrastructure, BIM, and other digital tools. Advances boost efficiency, lower costs, and create high-skilled jobs, boosting employment. Innovative materials and sustainable construction practices are also opening new domestic and international markets for UK businesses.

Investment in infrastructure boosts economic activity.

Infrastructure investment—public and private—drives economic growth. From steel to professional services, HS2, broadband expansion, and new housing and commercial construction boost demand across many sectors. These investments also boost competitiveness, quality of life, and foreign investment, boosting economic growth.

2024 Obstacles and Advantages

Many obstacles stand in the way of construction and civil engineering’s growth potential:

Issues include skills shortages, regulatory challenges, and the need for ongoing innovation to meet changing demands.

These challenges present opportunities for the UK to lead in green construction, digitalization, and infrastructure finance, positioning it as a global hub for engineering excellence and sustainable development.

Civil Engineering Projects’ Economic Impact

Regional economies are greatly impacted by civil engineering projects, especially those using steel reinforcement for strength and sustainability. They boost business productivity and accessibility while creating immediate jobs. Built bridges, tunnels, and transportation networks can boost local economies and open new markets.

Construction’s Future and Economic Growth

Future economic recovery and growth will depend even more on the UK’s construction and civil engineering sector. Green infrastructure and a low-carbon economy can sustain growth, with the construction sector leading the way. The sector can overcome challenges and seize opportunities by innovating and adapting.

UK economic strength and resilience depend on construction and civil engineering. The sector reflects the economy’s health and shapes its future through innovation, sustainability, and job creation. Steel reinforcement in the construction and civil engineering sector will continue to drive UK growth and prosperity in the 21st century.

How the Spring Budget 2024 Affects UK building

Original Source: Understanding the Spring Budget 2024- and what it means for UK construction

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt delivered the 2024 Spring Budget, promising tax cuts but little else.

The chancellor confirmed the 5p gasoline duty cut and extended the freeze as expected.

In the Spring Budget for 2024, the chancellor took several jabs at Labour deputy Angela Rayner’s multiple properties and the Liberal Democrats, who are aggressively campaigning in his constituency, ahead of a general election.

Budget factors most relevant to UK building include:

  • Lowering the 28% property capital gains tax to 24%
  • A 1% daily public spending rise above inflation
  • Full expensing of leased assets allows businesses to deduct investment in new machinery and equipment from taxes.
  • Starting in April, raising the VAT registration threshold from £85,000 to £90,000.
  • Maintaining inflation below 2% in “just a few months’ time”

Other energy sector announcements included:

  • Allocating £120m for green companies to develop offshore wind and carbon capture and storage technologies
  • AstraZeneca will invest £650m in the UK, expanding its Cambridge Biomedical Campus and creating a vaccine production base in Speke, Liverpool.
  • In the same deal, £160m will be spent on two nuclear sites: Wylfa on Anglesey or Ynys Môn in North Wales and Oldbury in South Gloucestershire, with the second unidentified.

Industry responses: “4/10, must try harder”

Black Capital Group founder Robbie Blackhurst

“A typical Built Environment budget. The Built Environment sector welcomes the announcement that inflation will fall below 2% within months. Material costs have risen significantly in the past year, raising tender and outturn expenses. Contracting firms must balance client needs with variable material pricing and supply chain concerns.

“Devolution is back on the agenda to address regional disparities, promote local governance, and accommodate cultural and political differences. This will boost the sector by allowing Local Authorities to spend on community projects. Devolution looks like a promise without a product from this government.

“The rotational budget still promises more housing, but without much detail except in some isolated areas. Overall: 4/10 (must try harder).

MD Ben Hancock, Oscar Acoustics

“SMEs have been asking for more government support to deal with rising financial pressures, so the fuel duty freeze is welcome. However, energy and material costs remain a big challenge. About every two weeks, prior clients have gone bankrupt in the last six months.

That said, confidence has skyrocketed in the past month, and I think today’s budget will help preserve it. Orders rose 30% in early 2023 and 250% in January, suggesting a quick rebound. We may enjoy a good summer if the administration keeps its promises.”

Insufficient housing, MMC, and sustainability in 2024 Budget

Starship co-founder and CEO Dave Dargan

“Jeremy Hunt’s spring budget neglected sustainability and net zero UK plans. I would have hoped to see a large investment for promoting new construction methods, reflecting the need for more sustainable homes nationwide, especially as the housing crisis intensifies.

Support for first-time buyers is welcome, but there must be houses to buy to get on the housing ladder. Should the government emphasise modular housing and accelerate its delivery, it would help mend our broken housing system.

The budget emphasises the need for a forward-thinking administration that will support the building industry, drive the country forward, and promote resilience and sustainability by investing in green construction practices.

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we discussed the UK government is planning to employ hydrogen vehicles in the agricultural and construction industries. A new set of rules put forth by the government today would make these industries more environmentally friendly by allowing hydrogen vehicles, such as tractors, diggers, and forklifts. At the same time, a micropower tunnel was dug under West London’s Grand Union Canal by UK Power Networks and Barhale for the HS2 project. To reach a substation on Atlas Road, the 125-metre tunnel passes beneath the Grand Union Canal. However, in both the busy metropolis and the peaceful countryside of the United Kingdom, construction and civil engineering are the engine that propels economic progress. The nation’s skyscrapers and transport networks rely on this business, which both signals and drives its success. Modern engineering trends and sustainability, particularly with regard to steel reinforcement, drive the interconnectedness of the UK’s construction sector and economy. Plus, in the 2024 Spring Budget, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt pledged tax reduction but offered few other policies. As anticipated, the chancellor prolonged the freeze and affirmed the 5p reduction in petrol duties.