The Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation South West (CIHT SW) has set the theme of ‘Rejuvenation and the Economy’ for its annual conference, being held on 27th February 2020 at Reed Hall, University of Exeter. The annual South West regional conference is sponsored by WSP who develop creative, comprehensive and sustainable engineering solutions for a future where society can thrive.
The topic for the annual CPD event will look at insights into how transport can influence regional prosperity. This reflects CIHT’s vision of: ‘World-class transportation infrastructure and services‘ and supports the Institution’s mission: ‘To demonstrate transport infrastructure’s contribution to a prosperous economy and a healthy and inclusive society’.
Nik Bowyer – Chair CIHT (SW) said: “I’m really enjoying my role as the Chair of CIHT’s South West region and looking forward to the 2020 annual conference with WSP as headline sponsor. This year’s theme celebrates the role transport has in shaping the prosperity of our great South West region.” He adds: “CIHT is a registered charity and has a total of 14,000 members so regional conferences such as this are very important to help continue their ongoing engagement in the industry, professional development and sharing of best practice. Much of the time the focus can get put onto roads, but the resilience issue in the South West region is critical across all modes, especially in a world where the climate change debate is now rapidly influencing the policy agenda at all levels. With this in mind, we have a great line up of high-profile speakers for next year, each experts in their own field, and it promises to be a full-packed and informative programme.”
The keynote address will be given by CIHT President Martin Tugwell who is Director for England’s Economic Heartland with over 30 years of experience in strategic transport and infrastructure planning. He said: “By improving connectivity, through investing in the ability to travel and communicate, we can create opportunities for all. Through this we work at the very heart of society and help to shape people’s futures.”
Other speakers include Matt Roach, Managing Director – Exeter Airport, and Julie Gregory, Senior Commercial Scheme Sponsor – Network Rail. Julie will be discussing the South West Rail Resilience Programme and what is being done to protect the railway from rising sea levels and extreme weather.
The spectacular rail route along the Devon coast is the only rail link between Devon and Cornwall and is vital for communities, businesses and visitors in the South West. Currently the vital rail artery is vulnerable, but Network Rail is working to improve resilience. In Dawlish 80 million is being invested to protect the railway and the town from the sea, and in Holcombe and Teignmouth plans are underway to protect the railway.
Julie Gregory – Network Rail said: “The South West Rail Resilience Programme is vital not only for Dawlish and Teignmouth but also for more than 50 towns and cities in the South West peninsula. Work is already underway in Dawlish to build a bigger sea wall which will help reduce delays for passengers and ensure the South West remains open for business.” She adds: “We also have a huge challenge further around the coast with rock falls and hazardous cliffs, meaning action needs to be taken to protect the railway.”
The annual conference will be followed by a black-tie awards evening being held in the University of Exeter’s Great Hall, raising money for Freewheelers EVS services to the NHS in the South West. The awards ceremony will be an opportunity to celebrate both the work and people contributing to the highways and transportation industry in the South West.