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£600bn infrastructure pipeline unveiled

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A £600bn infrastructure investment pipeline covering the next 10 years has been set out in the government’s National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline.

Nearly 700 projects have been identified by the government as priority projects. An analysis accompanying the pipeline has been produced by the Infrastructure Projects Authority and shows more than £240bn of the pipeline investment is to be delivered by 2021. The pipeline and accompanying analysis is published annually and gives an overview of investment plans for the UK’s infrastructure across a 10 year period.

Around £55bn has been taken out of last year’s estimate (for the year 2016/17), as a number of schemes have finished. Investment amounts in projects that completed this year, such as the Ordsall Chord scheme linking two Manchester stations and the £800M Burbo Bank Wind Farm extension, have been removed.

A Northern Powerhouse transport scheme, an electric trolleybus system to connect the north and south of Leeds, was refused planning consent and was scrapped in May 2016. It had been expected to be complete by 2021.

From 2019 the analysis assumes a high level of offsite construction which, as the sectors biggest client, the government believes will pressure the industry towards greater modernisation.

More than 45% will be funded and delivered by the private sector, while public sector investment counts for 50%. The remaining 5% of the funding to 2021 is coming from a mixture of public and private money.

London is set to receive the biggest per capita investment in the country until 2021, with £4,033 spent per head. The next highest is the South West at £3,772. The region receiving the lowest per capita investment is Yorkshire and the Humber at £2,962 per head.

£75bn of the £240bn planned investment is going to the transport sector, with £57bn invested in energy. But beyond 2021, by far the biggest sector will be energy with a whopping £134.1bn of investment compared to £56.8bn for transport.

Current transport priorities still in development for the government include Northern Powerhouse rail schemes, Crossrail 2 – which has yet to secure funding – and the Lower Thames Crossing, which will go for public consultation next year. The list also includes South East airport capacity and the Western rail link to Heathrow.

However, the M20 lorry park (Operation Stack) is listed as “TBC – subject to scoping” after the project was cancelled last month.

On energy, Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are listed as a priority. A government announcement on funding for SMR development is expected this week.

Tidal lagoons are included on the list but the government has yet to respond to January’s Hendy review, which recommended setting up a pathfinder scheme in Wales.

Infrastructure and Projects Authority chief executive Tom Meggs said the pipeline demonstrated that planned infrastructure investment would bring tangible benefits.

“Our ambition is to significantly change the way we plan, procure and deliver infrastructure so we can deliver the outcomes for society that we all know infrastructure can provide. Above all else, I believe the pipeline and our analysis demonstrates that this investment is real – not a wish list – and translates into real projects on the ground, with tangible benefits for the public.”

Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) director of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming said: “The Government’s £600 billion infrastructure pipeline demonstrates it is committed to investing in infrastructure to deliver economic growth.

“Our industry is poised to deliver the infrastructure 21st century Britain will rely upon. At the same time, industry itself must modernise, and key to this will be solving the productivity puzzle.”

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