As 2017 draws to a close we’ll all reflect on the year, and make resolutions for the next one. It’s particularly appropriate for me to take stock as December sees the close of the year in which I took up my role with the Chamber. Perhaps the best way for me to do that, or articulate it, is to acknowledge what I’ve learned, or in some cases had confirmed, about our county and its commerce. I know now for certain that success and optimism is everywhere in Norfolk; but I also know that we don’t see it or talk about it enough. Norfolk’s many genuine and relevant success stories need exposure. We need to communicate the developments in green energy and technology. The country needs to be reminded of the county. Norwich, one of the UK’s fastest-growing cities, needs more national recognition. I know that we should start by changing the language and approach we use when promoting the region. There needs to be a profound shift away from apology and towards brilliance. Most of what we believe holds us back is no longer relevant, so let’s change the message. There are, and always will be, things on the shopping list but so much is already going on that doesn’t get promoted. It’s clear to me now that ‘skill’ is one of our region’s biggest challenges. Our growth is in itself creating a skill shortage. In the construction industry more people are leaving than joining. It’s mainly because of age. EU uncertainty could reduce the numbers further yet, and this at a time when we are trying to double the number of homes built. I know that at the Chamber we need to put real energy into working in partnerships to support ideas around training, re-skilling, apprenticeships and work-based placements I’m absolutely clear that the ‘tech revolution’ in Norfolk is right under our noses. Order books in the technology sector are filling up. The Silicon Broad is real. But technology needs skills too. More skilled coders, more investment and space to incubate and grow are essential requirements. This is a sector that, for Norfolk, is laden with potential. It’s highly prized but, like time itself, will wait for no-one. To coin a phrase, if we snooze, we lose. And I know this. To truly be the Norfolk Chamber we need to be ‘in’ Norfolk. We need to put leather on the city streets and we need get into the rural areas where we can be relevant and deliver value. Technology will help us enormously in communicating and delivering our strategies. But, to unify the county’s businesses, and become a powerhouse of success and innovation, Norfolk will need an army. We’re here. Join up. In closing, let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy, and prosperous New Year.


  • 414 Archaeological trenches excavated
  • 22ha of archaeological strip, map and record (completed)
  • 7km of newt fence
  • Over 300ha of site clearance (includes approx 5000 trees)
  • Over 2,000 amphibians, including 587great crested newts, 488 smooth newts, 885 toads and 103 frogs, trapped and moved
  • 4 Newt habitat ponds created
  • All mitigation and compensation bat boxes installed (81)
  • Over 100 bird boxes put up – 10 barn owl boxes follow
  • 2 Bat roost barns

Fencing and drainage

  • 42km of fencing complete – 2km remaining
  • 10 km of drainage installed so far – 23km remaining
  • 20 Drainage lagoons created – 7 remaining
  • Ditch and lagoon excavated to protect Wensum Valley

Utility Service diversions

  • 50 Utility service diversions changed over or ready – 30 remaining
  • High Pressure gas main diversion completed


  • 512,000 cubic metres of topsoil strip (almost complete)
  • 1.2 million cubic metres of bulk excavation – 0.3 cubic metres remaining
  • 11,507t of material so far used for structures, compounds, piling mats, crane platforms
  • 56,000 cubic metres of site-won gravels stockpiled for surface construction


  • Marriott’s Way Bridge - Abutment bases, columns and central pier poured, reinforced earth walls completed
  • Bell Farm Track Bridge - Abutment bases and columns poured, reinforced earth walls completed
  • Cromer Rd Bridge - Abutment bases and columns poured. Reinforced earth walls on-going
  • Buxton Rd Bridge - Abutment bases, columns and central pier poured. Reinforced earth walls completed. Crosshead beams and deck beams very soon
  • Newman Road Bridge - Excavated, with works to structure to commence soon
  • Rackheath Railway Bridge - CFA piling works completed. North and south abutment bases poured: Bridge beams on by Easter 2017
  • Plumstead Rd Bridge - CFA Piling, Abutment bases completed, walls very soon!!
  • Middle Rd Bridge - CFA Piling Completed
  • In total: 2,354 cubic metres of concrete in place  – 5,875 remaining

Main carriageway and junctions

  • 8.9 km of carriageway stabilised (out of 40 km total)
  • 8.5km protected with base layer asphalt (or base and binder)
  • Fakenham Rd, Fir Covert Rd, Reepham Rd roundabouts tied in and open to traffic. Verges and signs being completed
  • A140 Cromer Road –  Bridge works progressing well with beam installation due by end of March 2017, traffic to be utilising new bridge by end of July 2017
  • North Walsham Road roundabout - Drainage works underway and utility service diversions complete – earthworks and pavement construction in New Year
  • Wroxham Road roundabout – Utility service diversions due to be complete by mid-February 2017, followed by the main construction works
  • Salhouse Road roundabout – Earthworks complete, drainage underway, due to open to public traffic by Easter
  • Plumstead Road junctions – Works to progress in summer 2017

Side Roads

  • New Drayton Lane - Earthworks and utility service diversions complete. Target to open by 19 May 2017
  • Green Lane West/Wroxham Rd junction – will commence towards the end of February
  • Progress on cycleways, bridleways and paths – being completed as mainline works and roundabouts progress

Health & Safety

  • Over 500,000 hours recorded without a LTA (Lost Time Accident)
  • Accident Frequency Rate (LTA’s per 100,000 hours) – 0   (target <0.05)

As work continues on the Norwich NDR, council leader George Nobbs unveils one of the new scheme boards near Postwick. 

Phil Clifton, director of major highways for Balfour Beatty, said much of the route had been cleared since January, when the contract for the project was awarded. So far workmen have been clearing the site – chopping down trees, moving great crested newts, building new bat habitats, moving water, electricity and gas lines and setting up compounds and fence lines. Workers put down fences to contain the newts, then put out buckets with food in to lure them in, before relocating them to new sites. He said piling work on bridges would start soon, with 500 workers during peak construction.

Next year work the work will move on to surfacing, safety barriers, signs and road markings

Steel reinforcement used on Norwich Northern Distributor Road will be 100% British, main contractor Balfour Beatty confirmed on Friday 15 April 2016. 

The 20km dual carriageway, developed by Norfolk County Council, is the biggest local authority-promoted road construction scheme in the country, running around the east and north of Norwich from the A47 at Postwick (at the eastern end of Norwich Southern Bypass) to the A1067 Norwich to Fakenham road.  

The main construction contract, which started on 4 January, includes nine main structures – six bridges over the new road, and three under (an underpass and two bridges to cross the Norwich to Sheringham railway and Plumstead Road). Work is now moving from site preparation to the main construction.  

Balfour Beatty signed up to the UK Steel Charter last year, committing the company to using UK steel. In the wake of problems faced by the British steel industry, Balfour Beatty today confirmed that all steel reinforcement used on the NDR would be British, supplied by BRC from its Cardiff-based sister company Celsa Steel Services. Celsa produces the steel from UK scrap, which BRC uses to provide the finished reinforcement bars. 

George Nobbs, Leader of Norfolk County Council, said:  "As far as I am concerned both local and national government should be using British steel, so I am delighted that this will be the case with the Northern Distributor Road. So as well as creating and supporting hundreds of jobs locally, the construction of the road and its bridges will support much needed jobs in South Wales."

About Ifield

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