Infrastructure: The 40 steps to rebuilding Britain

George Osborne last week announced £3bn will be spent on the UK's infrastructure. Mark Leftly looks at the projects already in the pipeline

In a particularly downbeat Budget, where knocking a penny off the price of a pint of beer was greeted with such enthusiasm by a nation resigned to drowning its economic sorrows, there was £3bn found to invest in Britain's creaking infrastructure.

This isn't a huge amount, but as British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace (inset, right) says, at least that wasn't £3bn taken away from rebuilding Britain's creaking roads, tunnels and railways.

Moreover, it reaffirms the Coalition's commitment to using infrastructure as the main way of kickstarting an economy that is showing such few signs of revival.

In a piece of triumphalism, Chancellor George Osborne declared: "We can provide the economy with the infrastructure it needs. We're already supporting the largest programme of investment in our railways since Victorian times – and spending more on new roads than in a generation.

"We're giving Britain the fastest broadband and mobile telephony in Europe."

Central to all of this is the National Infrastructure Plan, a guide to 40 of the biggest initiatives that the Coalition is hoping will stimulate growth. An update on the progress of these schemes was provided alongside the Budget – and here, The Independent on Sunday distils exactly where the Treasury believes it is at with these grand projects.

Roads

Arguably the key policy for roadbuilding and maintenance, privatising the Highways Agency was not included in the Budget and is now thought unlikely to become official policy until the next government is formed. However, the last of the eight roadbuilding schemes that were announced before David Cameron entered No 10 will finish this spring. Financing options are under consideration to resolve congestion issues along the A14 corridor in Cambridgeshire.

Bridges

Final approval for the long-mooted Mersey Gateway to prevent the seemingly endless traffic jams on the Silver Jubilee Bridge that links Runcorn with Widnes should happen this autumn. However, there are criticisms that the steel could be sourced as far away as South Korea and therefore not benefit the local workforce. Construction on the new Lower Thames Crossing, which will link Kent and Essex, is expected to start in 2013-14.

Thames Tideway Tunnel

Last month, a development consent order went into the planning inspectorate for what will be the longest tunnel ever constructed in the capital at 15 miles. The environment and local communities departments are expected to grant planning permission next summer, with the procurement process starting in the next few months. Final contracts are not likely to be awarded until the end of 2014. The scheme is essentially a giant sewer.

Crossrail

Over two miles of tunnelling on a £14.8bn railway that will link east and west London has taken place since the Autumn Statement. This is currently the biggest construction project in Europe and will start carrying an estimated 200 million passengers a year from 2018. It was recently announced that the trains will now be fully paid for by the taxpayer, a £1bn contribution rather than the £350m initially proposed.

High Speed Two

The Budget ignored that there are already issues with the cost of HS2, the hugely controversial rail project that critics say will ruin the English countryside and supporters praise for dramatically cutting journey times. However, the HS2 team has pushed on, announcing the route for the second phase of the project north of London. A "paving Bill" put before Parliament will soon let Government accelerate spending on HS2.

Other rail

Never again will Wales suffer the embarrassment of being named alongside Albania and Moldova as the only European countries without an electrified railway. Earlier this month, the transport department announced that it was spending £704m to upgrade the Great Western main line between Cardiff, Bristol and Didcot. In January, Network Rail also announced the electrification of London to Swansea trains. The Kings Cross station improvements are expected to be finished at the end of the year.

London Underground

In the Autumn Statement, which was actually announced in December, the Government announced that it would issue a guarantee to support the Greater London Authority's borrowing to extend the Northern Line to Battersea Power Station. The Victoria Line upgrade was finished in January, which increased the number of trains during peak hours from 30 to 33. Contactless card payment was also introduced on London buses last year.

Airports

There was nothing on sorting out the mess over whether to expand Heathrow or build a huge new hub airport in the South-East, nor will there be until after the next election at this rate. However, Gatwick and Heathrow are both receiving major investment, the former two-thirds of the way through a £1.26bn programme that will complete next March. Heathrow's Terminal 2A was declared weather tight at the start of the year.

Ports

The biggest port project in the offing is DP World's London Gateway, 25 miles from the capital. Last week it was confirmed that the project will open in the fourth quarter and rival nearby Felixstowe. The first port equipment was delivered to the site earlier this month. Liverpool 2 is due to be built by 2015, adding an extra 500,000 containers to the city's port.

Broadband

The 4G spectrum auction fetched far less than the Government had hoped – and, embarrassingly, had even accounted for – but five companies were at least awarded licences on 1 March. Services using 4G are expected to be launched in early summer, while a contractor to start rolling out rural broadband should be appointed in May. The £150m programme for ultra-fast broadband in high-growth cities is expected by 2015.

Electricity generation

The big question remains nuclear, although Energy Secretary Ed Davey did give planning permission for a new power plant at Hinkley Point last week. Osborne had hoped to provide an update on financial negotiations with EDF over the deal that will see the first civil nuclear plant since 1995 built at the Somerset site. However, talks are delicately balanced while the Government is now looking into carbon capture and storage investment.

Smart meters

Energy suppliers are obliged to have installed smart meters in homes across the country by 2019. The roll-out starts next year and are designed to help customers save energy just as industry leaders are warning of impending black-outs. More importantly, they will help keep bills down as electricity prices are on the up and families are struggling for cash.

Flood defences

The insurance industry has moaned for years that governments have failed to build the defences needed to protect homes build on flood plains – largely because they end up picking up the costs. However, the Coalition recently announced plans for 93 flood defences which will start to be built in 2013-14, providing better protection for more than 64,000 homes. Schemes started this year include those in Leeds, Exeter and Derby.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Pricing Analyst

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor