Government outlines £375bn infrastructure plans

4th December 2013

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A new nuclear plant in North Wales and initiatives to boost energy efficiency are among infrastructure projects confirmed in latest Treasury plan

In the National infrastructure plan 2013, the Treasury outlines the UK government’s priorities for energy, transport, waste and water projects up to 2030, requiring investment of around £375 billion.

The plan includes a list of 40 key developments, such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel, HS2 and improvements to the motorway network, as well as large-scale wind, marine and biomass energy projects, and demonstration of carbon capture and storage. Decc says that 58% of total infrastructure developments set out in the plan focus on energy.

The plan reveals that the government has entered into negotiations to help finance a new nuclear power plant at Wylfa in North Wales, and includes details of the new long-term rates of support for renewable energy and changes to the non-domestic renewable heat incentive.

Alongside proposals to develop new energy capacity, the infrastructure plan includes initiatives to improve the energy efficiency of UK homes and business. “Managing the demands on new and future energy infrastructure is a crucial element of the government’s approach,” states the plan.

The role out of smart meters listed as one of the top 40-priority infrastructure projects, and the Treasury also confirms that it has guaranteed £8.8 million of funding for a project to retrofit energy-saving lighting in 149 car parks across the UK. The project, which is being financed by the UK energy efficiency investments fund, is expected to cut energy use at the car parks by 65% and abate 11,000 tonnes of carbon a year.

The government also pledges £5 million to pilot switching public sector car fleets to electric vehicles during 2014–2015.

“Underground, overground, onshore, offshore, wired or wireless, tarmac or train track. You name it, we’re building it right now,” said Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury.

While welcoming the government’s attempt to give more clarity to the sector, the CBI said that the plan lacked focus.

“It’s encouraging to see more detail on the timescales and financing of national infrastructure projects, but this still feels like a very long and hopeful Christmas list, rather than a true set of priorities,” commented Katja Hall, CBI chief policy director. “While this plan may look good on paper, now we urgently need to see action on the ground.”

In a report published last week, the Treasury calculated that if the infrastructure sector designed and built more resource-efficient transport, energy and water networks it could save £1.46 billion in costs and 24 million tonnes of CO2 each year by 2050.

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