T5 builder in infrastructure warning to UK

Grant Prior 12 years ago

The man who built Heathrow’s T5 is warning that the UK will get left behind the rest of the world unless it sorts out its infrastructure policy and speeds up schemes like a third runway at the airport.

Tony Douglas was project manager on the £4.3bn terminal before becoming chief executive of Heathrow then joining Laing O’Rourke as Chief Operating Officer.

He is now CEO of the Abu Dhabi Ports Authority which celebrated the opening of the giant Khalifa Port project last week.

Douglas told the Enquirer: “The real question is what is the UK’s plan when it comes to infrastructure?

“There doesn’t seem to be anyone taking a long-term view and the short-term political horizon means it is easier to defer decisions rather than take a handful of brave pills and commit to something.

“T5 involved the longest public planning enquiry in history and it seems we going the same way on a third runway.

“It means the UK will lose ground as we delay projects like the third runway and HS2.”

Recruitment experts have mentioned Douglas as a potential key figure in Government plans for the UK to push through a new generation of infrastructure schemes.

One said: “He has an impressive track record on massive jobs like T5 and now the Khalifa Port.”

Douglas said: “I haven’t given it a second thought because there is a lot left to do on the contract out here.

“I set out to deliver this project on time and on budget and in terms of that the ball is in the net.

“I’m sure other opportunities will emerge and I wouldn’t rule out coming back to the UK.

“It’s a global business now so the next step would depend on where those opportunities are.”

The Khalifa Port project has been delivered with the help of a raft of UK companies including Atkins, Halcrow and EC Harris.

Douglas said: “They have all been first class and done an absolutely great job.”

For videos showing the scale and work on the Khalifa Port click here


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