National Infrastructure Strategy launched
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.”