The Infrastructure Act has become law today, after the bill completed its passage through Parliament and received Royal Assent.
The Act will allow the creation of Highways England, a government-owned company, to operate the UK’s major roads.
It also aims to:
- Allow surplus and redundant public sector land and property to be sold more quickly by cutting red tape.
- End “unreasonable and excessive delays” on projects which already have been granted planning permission, through a new ‘deemed discharge’ provision on planning conditions.
- Give local communities the right to buy a stake in renewable energy infrastructure projects.
- Allow the extraction of domestic shale gas – otherwise known as fracking.
- Set out a cycling and walking investment strategy.
- Improve the nationally significant infrastructure regime through technical administrative improvements to the Planning Act 2008.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “This Act will hugely boost Britain’s competitiveness in transport, energy provision, housing development and nationally significant infrastructure projects. Cost efficient infrastructure development is all part of the government’s long term economic plan, boosting competitiveness, jobs and growth.
“A key part of this act will be the creation of Highways England, which will for the first time use long-term sustained funding to deliver the government’s roads investment strategy, worth £15 billion, to deliver more than 100 schemes between now and the end of the next Parliament.
“Good transport is fundamental in helping our economy grow, which is why the government is making record levels of investment. That’s why we’re building a transport system that helps you get on and get around. Through the creation of Highways England we expect to see savings to the taxpayer of at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years.”