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Investing in Infrastructure

December 4, 2014 11:10 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats are ensuring that Britain's economic recovery is based on solid long term investment in our economy.

Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has announced a radical new approach to housing, £2.3bn of investment in flood defences and £15bn of road improvements as part of the 2014 National Infrastructure Plan.

The National Infrastructure Plan sets out the coalition's plan for each of the key infrastructure sectors for the next 5 years including housing, flood defences and roads.

Housing

One of the key proposals for the government to directly commission build and even sell homes, as proposed by Danny at Autumn Conference.

A pilot programme on a government-owned former RAF base in Northstowe, near Cambridge will be led by the Homes and Communities Agency, building 10,000 homes.

This is the first time in a generation that the government has led a development of this scale on its own land and considered commissioning homes directly for sale.

This approach will fast track the development by making new homes available more quickly.

The National Infrastructure Plan also confirms there will be a £100m loan to provide land infrastructure and remediation for the first new garden city for almost 100 year at Ebbsfleet.

The plans also include support for Bicester in making it a garden town and the development of 13,000 new homes in the Oxford town.

The National Infrastructure Plan includes £2bn of new funding for affordable housing in 2018/19 and 2019/20. delivering 55,000 new homes every year.

Funds have also been set aside to ensure that 275,000 affordable homes are delivered in the next Parliament. This means over the next Parliament we will build more affordable homes than during any equivalent period in the last 20 years.

Flooding

Liberal Democrats in government are investing £2.3bn in more than 1400 flood defence schemes to protect 300,000 homes.

The improved protection will help to avoid more than £30bn in economic damages, including £1.5bn reduction in potential losses for the faring sector.

This includes investing £15.5m in Somerset on flood defences over the next 6 years, benefiting 7000 properties. This fund includes £4.2m being invested on the Somerset Levels and Moors.

Replacing seawalls at Fleetwood, building a barrage at Boston, refreshing tidal defences at the Thames Estuary and undertaking flood defence schemes at Oxford, Lowestoft, Yalding and the Humber.

Roads

Liberal Democrats in government are unlocking £15bn of investment in the Strategic Road Network as part of a new Road Investment Strategy.

The plans include undertaking more than 100 major schemes to 2020/21 including major enhancements to the A303 and the A1 North of Newcastle.

There will also be £2bn of improvements to the A303/A30/AA358 corridor to transform connections to the South West, with a new expressway and a tunnel underneath Stonehenge.

Thanks to continued campaigning by Berwick Liberal Democrats, £290m will be invested to complete the dualling of the A1 to Ellingham, with more money being focused on tackling congestion by widening sections of the Western Bypass.

In the East of England there will be £350m to upgrade the A47.

Extra funds will also be invested in improving the trans-pennine link from Manchester to Sheffield.

This project will include enabling more than 400 lane miles of extra capacity including a "smart spine" of Smart Motorways linking London, Birmingham and the North West, providing additional capacity to some of the busiest routes on the network.

Five new funds to address a range of issue worth £900m will be established to address a range of issues over and above the traditional focus of road investment including environment, cycling, air quality, innovation, growth and housing.

Rail

Every year more than 4.3m journeys are made by rail. Liberal Democrats are investing in our rail network to improve links across the country.

Projects involved in the £38bn Network Rail delivery programme include the electrification of key lines in addition to Crossrail.

There will be a £60m increase in the funding for the Access for All scheme to provide step free access to help improve accessibility at more than 40 railway stations.

Cambridge will benefit from a new station at Chesteron to create a better more direct connection between Cambridge Science Park and places of study.

Energy and Environment

Liberal Democrats in government have kept the environment on the agenda. The UK also now has more offshore wind capacity than the rest of Europe combined, whilst electricity generation from renewable sources has doubled.

The UK now has an infrastructure pipeline for energy of £275bn up until 2020/21.

Large scale investment in low-carbon electricity generation is vital in order to replace ageing energy infrastructure, maintain secure energy infrastructure, maintain secure energy supplies and meet legally-binding environmental targets.

Through the National Infrastructure Plan support will be given for ultra low emission vehicles with £50m between 2017/18 and 2019/20 going towards supporting innovation in manufacturing of ULEVs in the UK, based on a government contribution of £25m for which it will seek match-funding from industry.

The Roads Investment Strategy sets aside a further £15m over the course of the next Parliament for a national network of charge points for ultra-low emission vehicles. There will also be £10m worth of support for ULEV measures in London, as well as further detail of three funds totalling £85m to support ULEV taxis, buses and cities.

Up to £4m will be invested in extending the Clean Vehicle Technology fund in 2014-15 which funds road vehicle modification by local authorities in order to reduce air pollution.

Nick Clegg has announced the Cycle City Ambition grants, a government scheme providing £114m between 2015/16 and 2017/18 to enable the continuation of the Cycle City Ambition scheme in the eight cities it already covers.