Keeping the UK’s Royal Air Bases operational during the COVID-19 crisis

19 May 2020
Amey worker operating machinery, carry out phase 2 of runway

As the country continues its unprecedented journey through the current COVID crisis, the UK’s Armed Forces and their families are relying on key workers in the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and Amey to keep Defence working.  

It’s more essential than ever that both organisations continue to build on their collaborative, strong relationships, keep the lines of communication open and regularly review joint working practices to ensure the UK’s 47,000 Service family homes and 23,000 Defence buildings are kept clean, safe and compliant. 

At RAF Brize Norton, our teams in the South West have been fully focused on completing phase 2 of a major project to resurface the main runway and saw Amey’s Defence teams partnering with their colleagues in Amey’s Highways division for the second time to share resource and expertise 

Gerwyn Jones, Amey’s Area Manager at RAF Brize Norton said This project scope required a complete review before commencement and continues to be reviewed on a weekly basis. Social distancing guidance from the Government and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is built into the plan and regular team briefings (at a safe distance) are held with our supply chain partners to reinforce our messages and provide them with support and guidance. All contractors attended an induction that covered COVID-19 procedures and we are operating a 1 in 1 out policy in all canteen and toilet facilities.” 

As with all runway projects, we were required to work with the Senior Air Traffic Control Officer (SATCO) and the Officer Commanding Ops (OC Ops) to develop the Station’s Course of Action paper which details the steps Amey and its contractors will take should a Quick Response Alert (QRA) take place on the airfield. The team carried out a number of evacuation exercises to make sure contractors and plant equipment could be removed quickly from the runway in the event of a QRA. Contractors also worked overnight during weekends to minimise any potential disruption to flying.  

Airfield Manager, Lee Downey said Amey and its supply chain partners had to work more stringently on this project and it was vital they understood the importance of following the COVID-19 guidance. All parties; the RAF, DIO and Amey have worked in collaboration to ensure a timely delivery of the project whilst keeping the runway and the airfield fully operational.” 

The project is continuing at pace with resurfacing due to be completed mid-June and new LED lighting to be fully installed by the end of July. Our teams continue to work safely alongside the end users and are proud to be part of the national effort to keep the country safe.