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motorway congestion

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has confirmed that there will be no tolling on the planned A14 scheme between Cambridge and Huntingdon as the Government outlined its new National Infrastructure Plan.

The plan contains information on over £375 billion of planned public and private sector infrastructure investment. It sets out investment for energy, transport, flood defence, waste, water and communications infrastructure up to 2030 and beyond.

Construction of the A14 is expected to start in 2016 and could now be fully funded by the Government. The £1.5bn scheme will provide much-needed capacity on the 22-mile route, including a new 12-mile bypass around Huntingdon. The project was originally due to be funded by road-user charging.

The other news in the area of highways is that the Government will fund improvements to the A50 around Uttoxeter starting no later than 2015 to 2016.

The Government also wants to make the UK a world centre for the testing and development of driverless cars.

Six major insurers have announced plans to collectively invest £25 billion in UK infrastructure over the next five years.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander (pictured) said: “This is a massive vote of confidence in the UK economy. It supports the wider £100 billion public investment to rebuild Britain over the next seven years that I announced at the Spending Round 2013. Underground, overground, on shore, offshore, wired or wireless, tarmac or train track. You name it, we’re building it right now.

“This is great news for the people of the UK because after years of neglect, the UK’s energy, road, rail, flood defence, communications and water infrastructure needs renewal. It will boost the UK economy creating jobs and making it easier to do business. It will also make the UK a better place to live for everyone who calls it their home.”

Building on the announcement at the Spending Round 2013 of £100 billion of capital investment in infrastructure projects, the Government announced further plans which include:

  • Signing an agreement with Hitachi and Horizon to support the financing of the development of a new nuclear power station at Wylfa in North Wales through a UK guarantee, subject to final due diligence and ministerial approval
  • Provide a further £50 million for a full redevelopment of the railway station at Gatwick Airport
  • Confirm strike prices for renewable energy, so that energy providers know how much they will receive for electricity generated in the future
  • Take forward steps to convert public sector car fleets to electric vehicles investing £5 million in a pilot during the year 2014 to 2015
  • Fund improvements to the A50 around Uttoxeter starting no later than 2015 to 2016
  • Confirm that there will be no tolling on the planned A14 scheme between Cambridge and Huntingdon, construction of which is planned to start in 2016
  • Confirm that a UK guarantee has now been agreed for the £1 billion Northern Line extension to Battersea
  • Announce a £10 million guarantee for new energy efficient lighting systems across car parks in the UK
  • Create a new court for infrastructure to avoid unnecessary delays in the planning process for major projects
  • Open a £10 million competitive fund in early 2014 to test innovative solutions to deliver superfast broadband services to the most difficult to reach areas of the UK.
  • Build on the Spending Round commitment of £2.3 billion capital investment for flood defences by developing a new long-term plan, including naming key projects by Autumn Statement 2014
  • Double the target for the sale of corporate and financial assets from £10 billion to £20 billion between 2014 and 2020, which could include the Government’s shareholding in Eurostar
  • The Government will also look at options to bring private capital into the Green Investment Bank to enable it to operate more freely in delivering its objectives
  • Aim to make the UK a world centre for the testing and development of driverless cars. The government will conduct a review to ensure that the legislative and regulatory framework to support this aim reporting late 2014. It will also create a £10 million prize fund for a town or city to develop as a testing ground for driverless cars.

The Government says that the National Infrastructure Plan provides the visibility and improved certainty industry has been looking for in order to commit to big investments.

Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord Deighton said: “The fourth National Infrastructure Plan shows that the Government is delivering on infrastructure, with a long term strategy to make sure the UK tackles decades of underinvestment and gives us the infrastructure we need to compete in the global race.

“Investment is increasing to around £375 billion over the coming years, with 45% of our prospective infrastructure already under construction. We’ve set out Government priorities with clear delivery milestones and reformed planning rules to drive forward the most important projects, making sure we are building the strong, modern economy of the future.”

Otto Thoresen, director general of the Association of British Insurers, said: “Insurers have a key role to play in contributing to the UK’s economic growth, as providers of long-term capital investment. Providing capital for infrastructure projects will help drive a competitive, healthy and resilient UK economy.”

The future infrastructure pipeline, which only includes projects and programmes worth over £50 million, shows that planned investment in infrastructure has increased to over £375 billion from £309 billion last year. Of the 646 projects and programmes in the updated pipeline 291 are already under construction.