Armitt: Let’s shine a light on infrastructure’s Christmas heroes

Published: 18 Dec 2019


Picture of a railway worker

A gas network controller, a highways officer and a rail project manager are among the “hidden heroes of infrastructure” featured in a seasonal campaign by the National Infrastructure Commission to highlight the number of specialists across energy, transport and water who will be working this Christmas Day.

The case studies, drawn from across the UK, show the range of jobs across the engineering and utilities sectors which help ensure turkeys can be cooked, TV specials can be watched, and vital Christmas journeys can be made over the coming week.

Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said: “While those working in a number of frontline public services rightly get recognition for the work they continue to do over the festive period, others in less visible roles are similarly keeping essential services running 365 days a year.”

“We want to shine a light on the hidden heroes of infrastructure who will be working as usual over Christmas. Recognising those who help keep the lights on, water flowing and transport moving underlines the importance of infrastructure to everyday life – and the need for a long term plan from the new government to ensure the UK’s energy, transport and water systems are fully ready for the future.”

Brief films featuring nine different infrastructure professionals will be released between now and Christmas Day on the National Infrastructure Commission’s Twitter account, @NatInfraCom.

Those featured include Jasen Merritt, a network controller at Northumbrian Water based near Durham, who will be working on Christmas Day to ensure customers in the north east of England receive clean tap water; and Angela Fenne, a Highways England Traffic Officer based at Pridhamsleigh in Devon who will be patrolling major roads to respond to motorists in any difficulty.

Also telling their stories are Andy Reakes, a linesman with Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks who will be one of the team on hand to tackle any faults that might occur over the festive season; and Chris Harvey, network manager for National Grid’s gas control room in Warwick.

Harvey said: “I’ll be here on Christmas Day, making sure the National Gas Transmission System remains safe and providing a secure supply of gas to homes and industry around the UK. We know what we’re doing here is vital to keeping people safe, warm and fed – not just on Christmas Day, but all year round.”

Others featured in the campaign include a member of South Staffs Water’s quality team, and Siemens Mobility and Network Rail employees working on engineering projects at King’s Cross and Euston railway stations.

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