August 2023 UK Project Management Round Up


Major Projects (A303 Stonehenge Tunnel, North Sea Oil,

Ministry of Defence Projects, Wind Farm in Trouble, HS2, Other Nuclear),

Technical Issues (Trust Matters, New BSI Standard, Professional Associations),

Environmental Issues, The Ferguson boys’ Arctic Project, Loo Gardens

and More Cricket



By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK


It will not have escaped popular notice that Europe has been basking in catastrophically hot weather, resulting in wildfires all along the Mediterranean coastline.  Other parts of the world are also suffering similar problems and many readers will be pointing the finger at global warming.  So this month, we will have a look at projects that link in some way to our fragile environment.  I warn younger readers that there may be some parts of this report that are alarming so consider this a trigger warning.  I’ll start with major projects as they not only attract a lot of interest but they frequently highlight technical aspects we, as professional project managers need to take into account in our own practice.


Considering this is still what we charmingly term the Silly Season, there is quite a lot of serious major project news, some notable new projects, the Infrastructure and Projects Authority annual report and some planning developments.

  • Project Planning. Rearing its head again is the major road improvement project to tunnel past Stonehenge.  This project has been more than 20 years in the planning but in the middle of July, it received a development consent order (DCO) from Transport secretary Mark Harper.  Officially titled the National Highways’ A303 Stonehenge tunnel (Amesbury to Berwick Down) scheme, it entails the construction of a new 12.8km dual carriageway to replace the existing A303.  This includes a 3.3km tunnel beneath the Stonehenge UNESCO World Heritage site.  The plans are deeply divisive with those opposed to the notion claiming the tunnel will damage the world-renowned historic visitor attraction and cause additional pollution in the area.  Supporters view the proposal as the minimum necessary to improve a notorious accident black spot, reduce carbon emissions caused by the many traffic jams on the short section of single carriageway road between two major intersections and reduce traffic through ancient villages.

Image: New Civil Engineer

The project was approved in November 2020 despite the Planning Inspectorate’s recommendation only for the High Court to rule the decision unlawful.  A Joint venture formed of FCC Consrucción of Spain, WeBuild from Italy and Austrian BeMo tunnelling has been declared preferred bidder.  The JV is expected to be supported by a design consortium made up of Atkins, Jacobs and Spanish designer Sener.

It is very hard to see how tunnel could damage the world heritage site but opponents claim both carbon emissions (presumably during construction) and visual impairment do to visibility of the Eastern Approach tunnel entrance.  One difficult aspect to evaluate is disturbance to underground artefacts that cannot be detected using current technology.  The full scheme has a lot of benefits to local residents who would se a significant reduction in CO2 emissions from traffic jams, less noise as the western approach is rerouted away from the villages in the valley.  No doubt this will continue to cause resentment and argument for years to com.

  • North Sea Oil Projects. As the month ends, UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak visit Aberdeenshire and is expected to announce multimillion-pound funding for a carbon capture project in Scotland.  The Acorn Project is intended to reuse oil and gas infrastructure to capture carbon dioxide emissions.  As we reported back in March, carbon capture is a hot potato as the technology offers a workable solution to new carbon emissions.  Furthermore, it’s supports claim that it could create up to 21,000 jobs.  This investment would be part of what is known as Track 2 – part of the Government strategy to achieve net zero by 2050.  Acorn is a joint venture with four partner companies (Storegga, Shell UK, Harbour Energy and North Sea Midstream Partners) developing decarbonisation projects in Scotland.
  • Ministry of Defence Projects. There are two major procurement projects in the wind for MoD contractors.


To read entire report, click here

How to cite this report: Shepherd, M. (2023). Project Management Roundup from the UK, report, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue VIII, August. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/pmwj132-Aug2023-Shepherd-UK-Regional-Roundup-Report.pdf

About the Author

Miles Shepherd

Salisbury, UK


 Miles Shepherd is an executive editorial advisor and international correspondent for PM World Journal in the United Kingdom. He is also managing director for MS Projects Ltd, a consulting company supporting various UK and overseas Government agencies, nuclear industry organisations and other businesses.  Miles has over 30 years’ experience on a variety of projects in UK, Eastern Europe and Russia.  His PM experience includes defence, major IT projects, decommissioning of nuclear reactors, nuclear security, rail and business projects for the UK Government and EU.  His consulting work has taken him to Japan, Taiwan, USA and Russia.  Past Chair and Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM), Miles is also past president and chair and a Fellow of the International Project Management Association (IPMA).  He was, for seven years, a Director for PMI’s Global Accreditation Centre and is immediate past Chair of the ISO committee developing new international standards for Project Management and for Program/Portfolio Management.  He is currently Chairman of the British Standards Institute project management committee.  He was involved in setting up APM’s team developing guidelines for project management oversight and governance.  Miles is based in Salisbury, England and can be contacted at miles.shepherd@msp-ltd.co.uk.

To view other works by Miles Shepherd, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/miles-shepherd/.