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New legislation to boost infrastructure

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The Government has published new legislation designed to encourage investment in Britain’s infrastructure.

It claims that the Infrastructure Bill will help create stable long term funding for work on the country’s major road network ensuring smoother, quicker and quieter journeys and make it easier to sell surplus and redundant public sector land and property to help build more homes on brownfield land.

The legislation will also give local people the right to buy a stake in renewable energy projects, while cutting red tape for nationally significant infrastructure projects to boost investment.

Measures include:

• Turning the Highways Agency into a Government-owned company with stable long term funding to drive down costs to the taxpayer – saving £2.6billion over the next ten years and making the new arms-length company more accountable to Parliament and to road users

• Enabling surplus and redundant public sector land and property to be sold more quickly by cutting red tape around such sales, increasing the amount of brownfield land available for new homes

• Improve the nationally significant infrastructure regime by making a number of technical administrative improvements to the Planning Act 2008 following a review of how the Act has operated

• Ending unreasonable and excessive delays on projects which already have been granted planning permission, by a new ‘deemed discharge’ provision on planning conditions; this will help speed up house building

• Creating a centralised Local Land Charges register, as part of the modernisation and digitisation of Land Registry, which will improve services and aim to reduce costs to users, helping to speed up the home buying process

• Giving local communities the right to buy a stake in renewable energy infrastructure projects

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Investment in infrastructure is central to the Government’s long-term economic plan and that is why we are spending almost £73 billion over the period 2015 to 2021 on transport alone.

“This Bill will hugely boost Britain’s competitiveness in transport, energy provision, housing development and nationally significant infrastructure projects.

“These powerful new measures will drive investment, making it easier, quicker and simpler to get Britain building for the future.”

The joint Bill was published by the Department for Transport on behalf of the Land Registry; Energy and Climate Change; Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Communities and Local Government. Its provisions have been developed following several reviews and extensive consultation.


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