Build, build, and build

5 December 2014, Blog

On Wednesday the Government updated the National Infrastructure Plan for the final time in this Parliament and announced a £466bn infrastructure package for the UK. In 2015-2016 £55bn of these projects will be delivered. It is very unlikely that here will be much of a halt on any of these infrastructure projects even if a new administration were elected in May 2015. The Coalition administration found themselves in a similar situation in 2010 when they inherited the HS2 project from Lord Adonis and the Labour team. The debate still continues around the development but the project continues tootling on.

One of the key announcements from the updated plan was the Government’s commitment to invest £15bn in roads through their newly announced “Road Investment Strategy”. The ambitious transformation of British roads will take place over the next six years. These improvements will include over 1,300 new lanes miles and seek to tackle congestion problems. One of the biggest projects includes developing a tunnel near Stonehenge and already opposition for this development has begun to emerge.

The debate surrounding whether to expand Gatwick or Heathrow continues to rage. However, Gatwick Airport will be especially buoyed as the updated plan has announced that the Treasury will be committing £120m to upgrade the train station based at the airport. Work at the station will commence in 2017 and will see a doubling in the size of the concourse area more escalators and lifts fitted. This is all being done to cater for n increase footfall from 5m, currently, to 20m by 2025.

The redevelopment of Gatwick’s train station comes on the back of an announcement earlier in the year to boost its links with the centre of London. This includes linking with Crossrail and providing a train to Central London every 2.5 minutes by 2025.

Another substantial announcement was the Government’s decision to commit £2.3bn to creating 1,400 flood defence projects across the UK to avoid similar attacks during this year’s drought. The most notable projects include a £196m commitment to the Thames Estuary ,which the Government claims will protect 8,000 homes, £80m to the Humber Estuary ,this will also include sea defences, and a £42m flood alleviation scheme in Oxford.

On a final note it leaves some of us wondering whether the rumours surrounding a newly created role in Government of Infrastructure Minister could be on the cards. There is an infrastructure package of £450bn to deliver and it makes you consider whether a certain London Mayor/Conservative PPC might be licking his lips at the prospect of taking over this brief… but we couldn’t possibly comment.

 

Written by Account Manager, James Lancaster.

 

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