The UK Infrastructure Act Becomes Law
The Infrastructure Act passed Parliament and received Royal Assent at the end of last week. The Act creates Highways England, a government-owned company to operate the UK’s major roads with access to long term stable funding to ensure improvements are streamlined, cost efficient and encourage investment.
The legislation will also give local people the right to buy a stake in renewable energy projects, while cutting red tape for nationally significant infrastructure projects to boost investment.
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.
The act will:
- turn the Highways Agency into a government-owned company, Highways England, with stable long term funding to drive down costs to the taxpayer and make the new arms-length company more accountable to Parliament and to road users
- enable surplus and redundant public sector land and property to be sold more quickly by cutting red tape, increasing the amount of previously used land available for new homes
- end unreasonable and excessive delays on projects which already have been granted planning permission, by a new ‘deemed discharge’ provision on planning conditions – this will help speed up house building
- allow Land Registry to create a digitised local land charges register that will improve access to data, standardise fees and improve turnaround times for property professionals and citizens
- enable Land Registry to undertake new services that would further improve the conveyancing process or benefit the wider property sector
- give local communities the right to buy a stake in renewable energy infrastructure projects
- boost our energy security and economic growth by extracting domestic shale gas, which has the potential to create jobs, making us less reliant on imports from abroad and help us tackle climate change, all within one of the most robust regulatory regimes in the world
- set a cycling and walking investment strategy
- improve the nationally significant infrastructure regime by making a number of technical administrative improvements to the Planning Act 2008 following a review of how the act has operated
- enable the creation of an allowable solutions scheme to provide a cost effective way for house builders to meet the zero carbon homes obligation
These powerful new measures will drive investment, making it easier, quicker and simpler to get Britain building for the future.
The act was published by the Department for Transport