Letter: Water group claims key to UK infrastructure puzzle

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The UK is falling behind its peers with multiple factors creating a scenario where costs are reducing our ability to deliver much-needed infrastructure (Report, January 31)

Many of these factors sit outside the remit of any one business or entity, like delays and cost overruns caused by an outdated and overly complex planning regime. But clearly investment in critical infrastructure is a necessity and we must find solutions.

We all know that no single business can answer the question of how to fix this complex process, but cross-industry collaboration is crucial. At Anglian Water, our “alliancing” model brings on board partners and drives an integrated approach to project delivery. Working in this way has allowed us to reimagine the traditional way of devising, costing and delivering projects by encouraging innovative thinking, advancement of new technology and collaborative working between partners. The result? Better outcomes for customers, the environment and the long-term future of our region.

For our next business plan, by far the biggest and most ambitious in our region’s history, we challenged all our supply chain and construction partners to find more efficient ways of working together to deliver a plan, on a scale we’ve never seen before. By combining years of investing in innovation and efficient delivery, we were able to decrease the total cost of our proposed plan from £10bn to £9bn, or by about 10 per cent. While the regulator Ofwat is still reviewing these plans, this would translate into a reduction of 2.7 per cent on our customer bills, from what they would otherwise have been.

There are huge benefits to the “alliance” way of working, including standardisation across projects, significant cost savings and huge capital carbon reductions.

Scaling this approach could mean the findings of the research and the UK’s standing would look very different.

Peter Simpson
Chief Executive, Anglian Water,
Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, UK

This post was originally published on Financial Times

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