The Government has revealed a new plan to invest £100 billion into the UK’s ageing infrastructure, including plans for road repairs, new homes, energy investment and better flood defences.
The new ‘Investing in Britain's Future’ report is released just a day after the Chancellor George Osborne announced £11.5 public spending billion of cuts as part of its Spending Review.
Instead, the Treasury Minister, Danny Alexander said the Government plans to put "long-term priorities before short-term political pressures," in announcing the plans which include the biggest investment in road infrastructure since the 1970s.
Plans include over £70 billion of investment in transport, over £20 billion in schools and £10 billion in science, housing and flood defences, of which half will be delivered by 2015-2016.
£28 billion will go toward road improvements, a £30 billion investment in the railway will allow 850 miles to be electrified, £250m will be invested in expanding super-fast broadband into rural areas, £370 million will go toward flood defences and there will be an £800 million extra funding for the Green Investment Bank.
As part of plans to invest in road transport, the new report states that reducing carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions will be at the ‘heart of Government’s vision for transport’ and that an important part of ‘managing the network over the next thirty years will be managing the shift towards ultra-low carbon vehicles’.
Demonstrating its commitment to ULEVs, its revealed there will be an offer of up to £10 million to fund research and development into long-life batteries for electric cars, ‘details of this and other aspects of the Government’s commitment to the transition to ULEVs will be set out in the ULEV strategy later this year’, the report says.
In the energy sector, environmentalists will be angered by plans to invest more money in nuclear power plans including at Hinkley Point in Somerset and tax incentives shale gas, although there was some good news, in the form of a guaranteed price for renewable energy, to help it compete with fossil fuel sources.
Major road projects to secure investment include a £1.5bn upgrading of the A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge, which will be brought forward by two years to 2016, and the M4 from London to Reading, which will expand to a four lanes.
‘While traffic and congestion have risen, investment over the past few decades has fallen,’ says the report but by ‘2020-21 the Government will treble investment in major new road enhancements from today’s levels’.
Dr David Hill
Fracking is another failure of government waiting to happen based on historical evidence.
There are two things that I have learnt in nearly 50 years of political voting. One of them is that government does not listen to anyone but themselves and two, it generally over time gets things horribly wrong for us the people. This combination has successively depleted the wealth and standards of living in this country, and thereby the long-term wellbeing of the British people. Today we hear that government is going to pump in £100 billion into infrastructure and where ‘fracking’ for energy will form a sizable part. In the USA there has been continual controversy about this and where underground water courses and aquifers have been contaminated – we need them to exist as there is no way near enough capacity in our reservoirs. Indeed the ‘Frackers’ will not even tell the America people what chemicals are forced into the ground to induce the fracking process, so therefore it appears there is a cover-up in operation already as usual (regulators and business, the dynamic duo). Today also Ofgem announced that by middle-decade we have a high chance of blackouts through lack of electricity. We have already had and are still suffering the stupidity of the politically-big business motivated wind power agenda that will never keep the lights on with its inefficient returns to the British taxpayer. Indeed, government have not learnt anything again and the British people will continue paying in perpetuity for these great money devourers. This madness continues but where it should have never have happened in the first place. For the Blair government were told (in No.10) and also the present coalition government by independent innovators that our future energy security resided in hydro-power and capturing 24/7 the energy of the sea. Something which totally surrounds our shores. Indeed just one of these independently developed environmentally-friendly energy schemes alone can produce in perpetuity ‘relatively ‘free’ electricity to the tune of 10% of the UK’s demand once built. Did Blair and the coalition listen, not one bit and where they went down the mad wind energy policy road but now where it appears they have got even madder with travelling down the unknown ‘fracking’ decision route. When I ask therefore will these custodians of our future wake up and think differently? Most probably never and the UK will continually go to the dogs I am afraid to say and another £100 billion up in smoke. If Cameron is listening which he never does I advise him to listen to independent brains, not those of big business and their quest for evermore profit and wealth from the British people. For that appears to be in reality what government, based upon past history, is all about.
Dr David Hill
World Innovation Foundation
June 27, 2013