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24 May 2016

Mott MacDonald’s Mark Leggett appointed chairman of the British Tunnelling Society

Mott MacDonald’s Mark Leggett has been appointed chairman of the British Tunnelling Society (BTS), taking over from Roger Bridge who has completed his two-year tenure.

Formed in 1971, the BTS maintains a leading role in the tunnelling industry by promoting the safe, efficient, sustainable and technically advanced design, construction and use of underground space. It has 810 individual members and over 250 corporate members, including representatives from many of the UK’s largest engineering consultants, contractors and clients. BTS events and evening meetings provide opportunities to discuss all tunnel-related matters and the society publishes industry guidelines and codes of practice.

As development director for Mott MacDonald’s tunnelling and underground space business, Mark has 26 years’ experience in designing, leading and managing multi-million pound underground infrastructure developments. This has included projects covering high-speed rail, mass transit systems, metros, utilities and highways, as well as deploying specialist underground construction techniques such as tunnel boring machines, hand excavation, sprayed concrete lining and cut-and-cover works.

Commenting on his appointment, Mark said: “The use of underground space offers great value and delivers huge benefits to clients undertaking major infrastructure projects. Major schemes such as HS2 and Crossrail require leading-edge tunnelling techniques and solutions, as will future projects like the Trans-Pennine tunnel beneath the Peak District and the Stonehenge tunnel. Through the BTS we possess the collective expertise to make these projects a reality. At the same time we’re able to provide the best independent guidance on how innovative underground construction can be undertaken sustainably and safely.”

The BTS calls on the long tradition of tunnelling in Britain to continue industry-wide development of this vital field of civil engineering. It actively supports the recruitment of young people into the industry and conducts training courses to advance the education of tunnelling professionals. The BTS supports the tunnelling and underground space MSc at the University of Warwick by providing bursaries and student prizes, a steering board to advise on the syllabus and module champions and guest lecturers. The society also acknowledges excellence in tunnelling through its annual awards, sponsorship and support for industry conferences and advises the government and general public on the tunnelling industry.

Mark currently chairs the course’s steering board and is keen to see student numbers grow to over 30 each year. He added: “I’m hugely excited by the potential of this relationship and believe that, together with the University of Warwick, we can really grow the numbers on the course. We want more people in this industry, particularly clients, to recognise its importance.”

“The BTS has always and continues to be at the forefront of tunnelling in the UK. To ensure its longevity, our Young Members group is one of the success stories of the past few years and is already being replicated by other organisations. They are active in schools and universities across the UK and I’m keen to see what else we can do to promote careers in tunnelling and help create future industry leaders.”

Mark is also keen to revitalise how the BTS communicates with its members and the wider industry by devising an effective communications strategy. He explains: “My goal is to develop and articulate the benefits of our different membership categories and to change the way we communicate to become more digital and reactive. By 2018 I hope that everyone will see significant improvements in the mode and amount of communication from the BTS.”

Mark’s role as chairman will end in May 2018, when he will then serve for a further two years as immediate past chairman. He is the first BTS chairman from Mott MacDonald since former Mott, Hay & Anderson chairmen Stephen Tough and John Bartlett, who both held the position in the 1970s and 1980s.

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