From Heathrow expansion to Crossrail 2: These are the UK's 12 most pressing infrastructure projects

Rebecca Smith
Heathrow expansion is top of the list of priorities
Heathrow expansion is top of the list of priorities (Source: Getty)

Lord Adonis, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, has laid out the top 12 immediate infrastructure priorities on which ministers need to make "rapid progress" in the next year.

He has called on the government to press ahead with key infrastructure decisions, spanning London airport expansion to Eastern crossings of the River Thames, and set out timings when certain developments need to happen for them.

“Britain’s historic weakness has been to underinvest in infrastructure, and to adopt a stop:go approach even where decisions are taken in principle," he said. "Nothing symbolises this more than the long-running saga of Heathrow airport. A third runway was agreed in principle 14 years ago but there has still not been a firm decision to proceed."

The NIC is an independent body providing the government with expert advice on major infrastructure projects.

Read more: Lord Adonis says government must press ahead with Heathrow expansion

The top 12 time-sensitive infrastructure priorities:

1. Heathrow third runway

A Commons vote on any finalised national policy statement no later than May 2018; a government response to the consultation on UK airspace published no later than October 2017; a timetable for agreeing an updated national aviation strategy published no later than September 2017.

2. High Speed 2

Introduce the hybrid bill for phase 2a (Birmingham to Crewe) of HS2 and publish the finalised route for Phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Leeds), including connections with HS3, and let the major work contracts for the project, by the end of July 2017.

Read more: HS2 set to be extended after boost in Queen's speech

3. High Speed 3 linking the major northern cities

Publish by the end of 2017 a single integrated plan for the first phase of High Speed 3, incorporating proposals for electrifying and upgrading the trans-Pennine (Manchester to Leeds) rail route, plans for the northern sections of HS2, and plans for the redevelopment of Manchester Piccadilly station.

4. Crossrail 2

By the end of 2017 publish a plan, agreed with the mayor of London, for the funding and phased construction of Crossrail 2, and for securing the necessary parliamentary consent.

Read more: Crossrail 2: TfL's latest revised route scraps Kings Road Chelsea station

5. Eastern crossings of the River Thames

Take a decision on planning permission for the Silvertown Tunnel by end of October 2017; announce a financing strategy for the new Lower Thames Crossing and begin environmental impact process, no later than September 2017; agree a policy with the mayor for the next road crossing of the Thames by the end of 2017.

6. Flexible power systems

The government should publish plan for smart energy systems no later than September 2017.

7. Renewable energy

The government should publish its firm forward plans for supporting renewable energy, at least to 2025, including the use of the remaining funds from the £730m agreed in the last parliament, by October 2017.

8. Decarbonisation of energy

The government must publish its strategy for the decarbonisation of energy, including its emissions reduction plan, no later than October 2017.

9. Hinkley Point C

By the end of the year, the government should publish a strategy and timetable for replacing the services provided by the UK’s membership of Euratom to support the delivery of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.

10. Broadband and mobile

By the end of 2017, the government should publish its final universal service obligation decision and set out minimum acceptable standards for mobile coverage.

11. 5G mobile

By the end of 2017, the government and Ofcom should complete the auction of 5G spectrum in the 3.4-3.6 GHz range; set out a comprehensive plan to enable the rollout of 5G services.

12. Water and flood defence infrastructure

Finalise the strategic policy statement for Ofwat by September 2017; the government should publish its review setting out the proposals for the effective management of surface water flooding by the end of 2017.

Read more: This has been named the greatest infrastructure project in London

Related articles