There’s little doubt about it: 2020 has been the year of Covid. Indeed, this hasn’t been a typical year, by any standard or measure. From the Tokyo Olympics to the postponement of worldwide cinema releases, many live events have been delayed, even cancelled indefinitely. Live gatherings and events aside, many large infrastructure projects have also seen their completion dates severely knocked back. Some have even been scrapped altogether. From transport and energy to housing, here are the largest UK projects that have stalled due to the pandemic.
One of the first projects to be impacted was the long-awaited Crossrail. This already delayed transport project not only faces further postponement but also rising costs. The Elizabeth Line was due to open in 2018, then in 2021 over its revised budget of £17.6 bn. Other transport projects delayed across London now include the Northern Line, and Bank Station upgrades as well as improvements to the Old Street roundabout.
One of the more contentious infrastructure projects since its beginning (due to its sizable budget), High Speed 2 railway is yet another large transport project that has seen its timeline affected. And while it’s still going ahead, the pandemic has put the need for the high-speed railway into harsh perspective. The project has accumulated considerable cost, close to £100 billion. With the majority of the nation now working from home and public transport down by almost 80%, critics feel it no longer makes sense for the project to continue. On the other hand, there are those who still believe it is required to support long-term population growth and drivers of infrastructure.
Hinkley Point C
Back in July, one of the sites supplying concrete to Hinkley Point C nuclear plant suffered an outbreak of the virus. Several workers tested positive at the Balfour Beaty site, which led to all workers self-isolating while the site was closed for deep clean. A subsequent slow down in work on site has led to further delays and costs. The first nuclear plant in a generation for England is not due to be operational now until 2025.
One area that’s been highly impacted by Corononavirus is housing. Construction delays, along with the recession, have thrown a spanner in the works when it comes to building new homes. It’s predicted over 85 000 alone will be lost this year alone. Furthermore, 0ver 300 000 planned new homes scheduled to be built over the coming years might never leave the drawing board. Social housing projects are due to be hardest hit.
In Leeds, Home Egland has extended the development of McAlpine’s £70 million mixed-use housing scheme by a year. Bristol City Council has also seen a number of its house building projects delayed. Despite this the council has come up with a clever solution – they’ve pledged to spend over £20 million buying up 100 additional houses from private developers.
Local authorities and builders across the country may need to take note of Bristol City Council’s creative, out of the box thinking more readily. The impacts of Covid-19 are set to exacerbate an already challenging housing crisis here in the UK, making the next steps the country takes with regards to home development and building crucial.
While the nation keeps battling the virus, these large infrastructure projects and many others continue to fight to stay afloat. At the same time, the pandemic is leading many to reconsider the viability of such projects and whether or not they continue to serve a purpose in a rapidly changing post-Covid world.