30-31 March 2021

New Horizons

Building the Recovery


Wednesday 31 March

The delivery of major infrastructure and construction projects will be crucial to the UK’s social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The current crisis is shining a spotlight on the essential role that mineral products and heavy building materials will play in repairing Britain’s economy and employment prospects. From HS2 and major highway schemes, to repairing local roads and building new homes, schools, hospitals and flood defences, innovation and collaboration will be key to meeting both current and future infrastructure challenges as the UK looks to ‘build back better’.



Exploring the key issues and opportunities for aggregate, asphalt and concrete suppliers in responding to the UK’s infrastructure needs, Hillhead Digital will examine the need for collaborative working within the supply chain to ensure successful project delivery, as well as the use of emerging technologies to improve processes and drive up productivity.

Scroll down to see the full schedule.




Susannah Streeter

The day will be hosted by Susannah Streeter a leading broadcaster and financial commentator.  Susannah has anchored flagship BBC business news programmes on TV and radio and moderated at major summits, conferences and events, around the world, including the recent World Green Economy Summit in Dubai.

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Susannah Streeter

Sessions include

  1. The delivery of major infrastructure and construction projects will be crucial to the UK’s social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and none will be bigger than HS2. With work on Phase 1 (London to Birmingham) of the high-speed rail project already under way and Phase 2A (Birmingham to Crewe) having just been given the green light, the mineral products sector will have a huge and essential role to play in delivering this world-class 21st century railway service.

  2. Session introduction by Susannah Streeter
  3. An overview of the HS2 project, considering how HS2 (and all rail schemes) are designed with material efficiencies at their heart. The iterations the HS2 team have completed involving materials during that design process and an introduction into how HS2 and its construction partners are now leaning in to minimise the carbon and cost impacts of importing additional materials that are needed.
  4. SCS Railways is a Skanska, Costain and STRABAG (SCS) joint venture that brings together an industry-leading combination of tried, tested and successful partnerships, worldwide high-speed rail experience and extensive national and regional knowledge. This presentation will explore SCS Railways’ collaborative approach with the supply chain; what they require from their suppliers; sustainable supply chain development; and the opportunities that are available to work with SCS Railways or their supply chain.
  5. HS2 is the most challenging civil engineering project in the UK today. Designed to boost connectivity and to support the demand for increased UK rail infrastructure, the scale, quality and commitment to more sustainable construction. We discuss how 'Meeting the challenges' presents opportunities to develop talent, strengthen customer relationships and leave a lasting legacy. 
  6. HS2 requires huge volumes of construction materials, to be supplied to exacting quality, whilst meeting high sustainability and carbon reduction standards. The scale of the build, logistics and investment across the supply chain is challenging but will drive progress and legacy. This session will tackle the immediate challenges, Covid and mobilisation. 
  7. This presentation will consider the development process for the CEMEX Vertua range of low carbon concretes and how the product can support the sustainable targets of HS2. 
  8. Break / Explore the exhibition
  9. From major highway projects to regional and local schemes, road construction will offer a host of opportunities for the sector. With a £27.4 billion budget for investment in England’s strategic road network between 2020 and 2025, Highways England’s plans for the next five years include the start of 12 new major road-building projects. In line with the sector’s net-zero aims, increased use of recycled asphalt planings (RAP) and greater utilization of modern low-temperature, low-carbon asphalts will play their part in ensuring this growth is delivered sustainably.

  10. Session introduction by Susannah Streeter
  11. The transition of the road infrastructure sector from linear economy into resource efficient circular economy is gaining pace. To foster and integrate this transition means that as an industry we must be ready to respond. Helen will discuss the approaches and challenges associated with this change and reflect on how this will affect the use of materials, construction processes, decision making and organisations as a whole. 
  12. Exploring the long-term benefits associated with switching to warm-mix low-temperature asphalt products from traditional HRAs. Our industry panel of stakeholders from across the supply chain discuss experiences to date, benefits reaped and visions for the future from using warm-mix asphalt materials. Diane Ware of Wiltshire Council evaluates what switching exclusively to warm mixes has delivered across her region. 
  13. This is a programme to renew Highways England legacy concrete roads. To do this Highways England need to ‘hold by maintenance’ some roads and reconstruct others. This involves looking at both hierarchy of waste solutions for all products from the schemes being run over the next four years and adopting a lower carbon footprint to all works. The approach has been to begin to cost carbon from each and very intervention, to balance the budget, and achieve value for money as well. This starts at scheme inception to completion. (End to End Digital – single source of truth)

  14. Mark Flint will be presenting on the use of innovative asphalt mixes, tested at FM Conway's own laboratory in Gravesend, to improve sustainability within road surfacing projects.

  15. Break / Explore the exhibition
  16. The Government’s plan to drive the UK’s recovery for a greener, stronger future includes major capital spending on infrastructure, supported by the new National Infrastructure Strategy and the new UK Infrastructure Bank. But how will the UK’s planning system support this growth agenda? What are the challenges and opportunities for the mineral products sector? And how should companies go about winning key infrastructure contracts as the country looks to build back better following the pandemic.

  17. Session introduction by Susannah Streeter
  18. Demand for aggregates has been estimated at up to 3 billion tonnes over the next decade, representing significant growth compared with the last 10 years. This appetite for aggregates is led by key drivers including infrastructure, housing and post-Covid ‘Build Back Better’. By reviewing the recent trends and latest activity in planning consents for new reserves, we examine how the aggregates industry is positioned to feed this hunger in terms of its available resources, their geography and the implications for routes to market and product mix. 
  19. The presentation will provide an insight into the timescales, challenges, and opportunities that the minerals and infrastructure town planning system will provide in supporting the Government’s growth agenda. It will explore how the supply chain needed to support this growth can aim to take advantage of this agenda and tie their projects to it. The challenges that the planning process will throw up will be highlighted, and the influence that this system can have upon when ultimately spades can be put in the ground and mineral resources called upon, will also be discussed.  
  20. Connecting five islands off the coast of Norway was never going to be an easy task, but Skanska was awarded this awe-inspiring infrastructure project – one of Norway’s boldest and most brilliant civil engineering achievements – to build long sub-sea-level tunnels, bridges and large sea fillings in some of the most challenging conditions. It was the chosen project management tool that allowed Skanska to win the bid and deliver on time and on budget – the Topcon MAGNET Project solution. Find out in this session how this technology is helping the team at HS2 to coordinate the overall project and how you can make even the most complex of projects and largest of teams simpler than ever.

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