Consultation on plans to reform of the electricity market by introducing a carbon price to encourage low carbon generation is to begin next month, the government confirmed this week.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will then use the results to publish a White Paper by May next year.
The introduction of a carbon price is considered essential to creating the right market conditions for investment in new nuclear power stations.
DECC is also committed to securing parliamentary approval of the regulatory justification for new nuclear by the end of the year, and to setting out arrangements for the independent assessment of the safety, security and environmental impact of new reactor designs by next June.
The confirmation of dates to enable new nuclear were amongst a raft of milestones published this week in business plans for every government department. The plans will be reviewed annually and will make any slippages highly visible.
DECC is also committed to awarding the contract for the world’s first commercial carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration project by the end of next year.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has been set a host of deadlines to further the development of high speed rail, including publishing a proposed route for the first phase of High Speed 2 by December next year.
Outline engineering design will then begin, with an end date set for April 2013. A first Hybrid Bill would then go before Parliament in October 2013 with a view to it receiving Royal Assent in May 2015.
Other DfT goals include supporting infrastructure investment in London Underground until March 2015 and the delivery of Crossrail by the end of 2018.
The review of the operation and structure of the Highways Agency, kick-started by the Comprehensive Spending Review, will not be complete until October next year.
However, the Agency will come under scrutiny before then, with the business plan demanding it produce a raft of indicators on which its performance can be judged.
From April the Agency will publish monthly statistics on journey time reliability and annual statistics on the cost per mile of maintaining and operating the network. It will also make a biannual statement on the percentage of DfT’s appraised project spending that is assessed as good or very good value for money.
Work to reform Network Rail will not begin until May next year, once the Sir Roy McNulty’s report into the costs of rail in the UK has been published in April.
McNulty has already warned that without greater efficiencies lines could be forced to close (News, p8).
Proposals on how Network Rail could be restructured will be published in November.
In waste, the government has committed to set out steps to promote increased energy from waste through anaerobic digestion later this month. A detailed strategy will be published in May.
In water, a White Paper on the reform of regulator Ofwat and the industry overall will be published in June.