Rail (UK)

Na­tional In­fra­struc­ture Strat­egy launched

- Business · Finance · UK News · Politics · United Kingdom · Boris Johnson · Cambridge Union Society · National Intelligence Service · Powerhouse

The Govern­ment has pub­lished its long-awaited Na­tional In­fra­struc­ture Strat­egy that was post­poned be­cause of the Coron­avirus cri­sis.

Based on ad­vice from the Na­tional In­fra­struc­ture Com­mis­sion, the 100-page doc­u­ment de­tails how the Govern­ment in­tends to in­vest in en­ergy, trans­port, build­ings and in­dus­try to boost eco­nomic growth and to set the UK on course to meet­ing its new zero emis­sions tar­get by 2050.

Fur­ther ob­jec­tives of the NIS are to sup­port pri­vate in­vest­ment and to level up pro­duc­tiv­ity and pros­per­ity in all four coun­tries of the UK.

As well as re­it­er­at­ing com­mit­ments made in the Prime Min­is­ter’s ten-point plan, the NIS out­lines how the Govern­ment will spend £100 bil­lion on in­fra­struc­ture in 202122 - a real-terms year-on-year in­crease of £27bn. This in­cludes on­go­ing fund­ing for HS2 and the Govern­ment’s £27bn roads spend­ing plans.

In his fore­word, Prime Min­is­ter Boris John­son wrote: “For decade after decade, gov­ern­ments of ev­ery po­lit­i­cal stripe have failed to in­vest enough in the UK’s re­gions and na­tions. It is one of the rea­sons why the qual­ity of our na­tional in­fra­struc­ture has fallen be­hind that of other coun­tries. This strat­egy will change that.

“Our en­vi­ron­men­tal agenda, set out in our re­cent ten-point plan, is fully re­flected in this strat­egy, with am­bi­tious com­mit­ments on en­ergy, de­car­bon­i­sa­tion, and clean eco­nomic growth driv­ing us to­wards net zero in 2050.”

In its con­clu­sion, the NIS con­cedes that it “isn’t the fi­nal word on the Govern­ment’s in­fra­struc­ture plans - it in­stead rep­re­sents the first step of a multi-year process”.

The strat­egy will also be en­hanced by a se­ries of re­lated pub­li­ca­tions over the next 12 months, set­ting out fur­ther de­tails on key ar­eas of in­fra­struc­ture pol­icy. These in­clude the Union Con­nec­tiv­ity Re­view, In­te­grated Rail Plan and the Trans­port De­car­bon­i­sa­tion Plan.

Due for pub­li­ca­tion in the next three to six months, these doc­u­ments are ex­pected to pro­vide far more clar­ity on the fu­ture of ma­jor ar­eas of in­vest­ment in rail - in­clud­ing North­ern Pow­er­house Rail, HS2 Phase 2b and fur­ther elec­tri­fi­ca­tion.

NIC Chair­man Sir John Ar­mitt said: “Pub­li­ca­tion of the UK’s first ever NIS is an im­por­tant mo­ment, given the vi­tal role in­fra­struc­ture can play in sup­port­ing eco­nomic re­cov­ery and growth across the whole UK. We are pleased to see the Govern­ment’s strat­egy re­sponds closely to our own in­de­pen­dent as­sess­ment of the coun­try’s in­fra­struc­ture needs and how to ad­dress them.”

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