Transport, water, housing and energy are the four cornerstones of the construction industry – all pretty fundamental human needs. One could sink a few pints debating the comparative importance of each.
If you put water top of the list, you will no doubt quote the UN and say that, globally, dirty water kills more people than all the wars and violence of the world. That should settle the argument swiftly. Or you may take a more UK perspective and push the case for the housing crisis, since homelessness can lead on to so many other social problems. Others may argue that a healthy and wealthy society depends, first and foremost, on the free movement of goods and people, and without that there will be no tax revenue to pay for housing or sewers. Therefore, they would say, an efficient transport network is a prerequisite.
For all these problems, solutions may be difficult to achieve but we generally know what they are, broadly speaking. Energy, however, remains a thorny dilemma. There is no ideal way forward and all methods of power generation seem compromised in some way. All that is sure is that many power stations in the UK are reaching the end of their working lives. New generating capacity is required. We may be okay for today, but we are far from ready for tomorrow. Added to which, as Emma Crates’ feature on pages 16-20 highlights, we have still got yesterday to sort out.
Decommissioning & Demolition
Site report: Crossrail