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Wed November 13 2019

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Government targets autumn publication of infrastructure strategy

14 Oct The government aims to publish its plans this autumn for a step-change in infrastructure investment across the whole of the UK, it was announced during the Queen’s Speech.

The National Infrastructure Strategy – which the government plans to publish this autumn – would set out long-term ambitions across areas including transport, local growth, decarbonisation, digital infrastructure, infrastructure finance and delivery.

The strategy would also serve as the government’s formal response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s 2018 National Infrastructure Assessment, which made a series of independent recommendations to government across transport, energy, digital, waste, water and flood management.

The National Infrastructure Commission (was set up in 2015 to provide the government with impartial, expert advice on the UK’s long-term infrastructure priorities. Its first national infrastructure assessment was published in July 2018, and made a series of recommendations to government across all sectors of economic infrastructure. The government has committed to responding to these recommendations through the publication of a National Infrastructure Strategy, which is intended to set out plans to close the productivity gap between London and other parts of the UK and address the critical challenges posed by climate change.

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However, much infrastructure policy is devolved. Any changes to reserved policy areas will apply across the whole of the UK, said the government, while the devolved administrations could benefit from increased spending allocations.

The Queen’s Speech also included a section on plans to introduce the High Speed Rail 2 (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill to provide the powers to build and operate the next stage of the network. The aim is to bring the improved connectivity of HS2 to more cities in the north, sooner.  A review led by Doug Oakervee is currently considering HS2’s benefits and impacts; affordability and efficiency; deliverability; and scope and phasing, including its relationship with Northern Powerhouse Rail.

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