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£375bn earmarked for infrastructure spending

Over £375bn of planned public and private sector infrastructure money is expected to be spent on infrastructure over the next 20 years according to the latest update of the National Infrastructure Plan.

This is an increase on the £310bn in the pipeline last year.

For the first time the plan takes a sector by sector approach and articulates the government’s strategy for identifying and delivering the infrastructure that is needed in each sector. The Association for Consultancy and Engineering said it was a major step forward.

“This plan will unlock investment,” said a spokesman. “It is more of a prospectus that can be taken out to investors; it shows the UK does get the importance of infrastructure. It gives more information on where we are with projects, and gives a much clearer picture of what the government wants to see developed.”

There are now 646 projects or programmes with a capital value of £50M or more in the plan, 45% of which are under construction.

At a project level, the big change is that government has dropped plans for tolling on the new A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon. The £1.5bn scheme will now be conventionally funded.

The move is a complete U-turn for a government which, in its first Spending Review in 2010, ruled the scheme to be unaffordable “in any future funding scenario”. Full details of the reasoning were expected to be announced on Wednesday.

The government also confirmed that it had signed an agreement with Hitachi and Horizon to support the financing of the development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa in North Wales through a UK guarantee, subject to final due diligence and ministerial approval.

There was also confirmation of £50M for a full redevelopment of the railway station at Gatwick airport, and funding for improvements to the A50 around Uttoxeter starting no later than 2015/2016.

These announcements came alongside a pledge by six major insurers to collectively invest £25bn in UK infrastructure over the next five years.

The government also announced a plan to form a new court for infrastructure. It will be staffed by High Court judges and deputies with planning specialisms and will hear appeals involving infrastructure projects.

What’s new in the NIP

The National Infrastructure Plan 2013:

  • Brings together analysis of the UK’s infrastructure needs across different sectors now and in the future
  • Articulates the government’s approach, sector by sector, to identifying and delivering the infrastructure that is needed
  • Articulates the specific rationale for selecting each of the government’s top 40 priority investments; identifies key projects within those individual investments and provides more detail on the timing, funding and status of each
  • Sets out new ways in which the government will drive delivery of the Top 40 investments, including a dedicated ‘hot-desk’ in Infrastructure UK where Top 40 project owners can raise issues of concern, special consideration in the planning regime and UK Guarantees Scheme
  • A new Major Infrastructure Tracking unit within Infrastructure UK will allow it to track the progress of each top 40 investment

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