With the newly launched National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021 covering more than 600 projects or programmes worth approximately £483 bn, it is vital to fully understand the ramifications of plans as well as the potential gaps within them.
Put forth by the new Infrastructure and Projects Authority that reports to HM Treasury and Cabinet Office, the 111 page plan is comprehensive in not just creating a list of desires for UK infrastructure but in ensuring that from 2016 to 2021 the large scale UK projects essential to address future needs are seen through to a deliverable completion.
Following one week after the 2016 Budget, financing was a significant focus of the plan, with the government increasing cooperation with local authorities as well as engaging other stakeholders such as businesses. The pipeline value per year ranges between £41 billion to £52.2 billion, with the project value for after 2021 being approximately £186 billion that will be distributed and planned closer to that time.
Amongst financial actions included, there are tax deductions now available for businesses that participate in select socially responsible activities that many industry businesses may be interested in participating, such as funding flood or coastal erosion efforts. While this is a direct response to the Environment Agency’s effort to locate additional funding options, to the tune of £300m, to continue its scheduled plan of works.
Such collaborations for financing infrastructure is a cornerstone of the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021, with the private sector financing and delivering approximately 50% of the pipeline as set forth until 2020/21.
Within UK infrastructure financing, the plan also draws attention to role of the European Union. In 2015, the UK as a whole was the second largest recipient of the European Fund for Strategic Investment, which controls approximately 21 billion euros from 315 billion euros total dedicated to European Infrastructure Investment. The European Investment Bank’s role is identified as a ‘significant source’ of infrastructure funding. In 2015, the EIB increased lending from 5.5 billion euros to 7.7 billion euros.
Also with the views of helping businesses as a way to achieve government objectives, the plan provides for a Long Term Housing Fund, worth £2 billion, providing government loans to the private sector for infrastructure projects needed to make housing available at a higher rate.
Breaking the planned pipeline down by sector, it is quite apparent what the concentrations of the government concerning infrastructure are, with Energy leading the way as 60.1% of the projects planned, and Transport with 31.6 %
Looking over all the planned projects, it is clear that this is a plan centred on England, yet within the two largest sectors covered in the pipeline, coherence across the UK as a whole is vital.
Dr Nelson Ogunshakin, chief executive of Association for Consultancy and Engineering has stated:
“The publication of the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2012 by the new Infrastructure and Projects Authority represents the culmination of five years of work by ACE and the wider industry, which has championed the creation and development of the plan. This provides the industry with a firm set of projects with which to plan and allocate resources for, while allowing the government to seek the international investment that is now central to delivery.
While the plan is progressive and combines both social with economic infrastructure projects, it does have a significant flaw in that it only covers projects in England and lacks a wider UK perspective. More needs to be done to establish a clear picture of the UK’s needs, as a whole, and a compilation of projects is developed to ensure both the industry and the relevant government is held to account for delivery. “
This is a key area of concern for the industry going forward, that while devolution is accounted for, it is also vital that an overall picture of UK infrastructure is maintained. With such large scale infrastructure projects impacting a high number of citizens, over various regions, it is vital that these projects fit into the greater whole – fulfilling needs UK wide.
While the government has announced within the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021 that various details will follow, such as National Infrastructure Commission reports, and updates on improved financing details for projects such as the new local government pension scheme, it is hoped that this plan will become a part of a greater overview and clear picture of the entire UK’s needs alongside a realistic compilation of projects to meet such needs.
Group Communications Executive
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