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
Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
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

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'