New Infrastructure Act encourages renewable energy investment

New Infrastructure Act encourages renewable energy investment

New Infrastructure Act encourages renewable energy investment

People living and working in the UK are being given the opportunity to buy stakes in renewable energy projects as part of the government's Infrastructure Act, which officially came into play last week (Thursday February 12th).

Published by the Department for Transport on behalf of several other government departments, the overriding aim of the new bill is to help Britain build more homes and improve its transport infrastructure, in a cost-effective and timely manner, while keeping energy-efficiency at the forefront of people's minds.

new infrastructure act encourages renewable energy

By giving individuals, businesses and local community groups the chance to invest in clean energy projects, this allows them to get personally involved in improving the UK's green credentials and making sure the country is as environmentally-friendly as possible for the next generation.

What's more, the Infrastructure Act aims to boost Britain's energy security by increasing the practice of extracting domestic shale gas. Although some controversy surrounds this issue, a significant number of new jobs could be created and the country should become less reliant on international energy exports if such extraction increases, therefore helping to boost the economy and make the UK greener and cleaner in terms of its energy creation.

Improving energy efficiency is not the only factor that the bill supports though, as it also aims to bolster construction projects throughout the country in a bid to improve its transport infrastructure - again, this is something that could lead to the creation of more jobs and help to boost the economy.

For instance, as part of the act, the Highways Agency is set to undergo a rebrand, which will see it become a government-owned company known as Highways England. This is a fundamental move, as over the next few years, some £15 billion of funding is intended to be spent on improving the country's roads and motorways.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin commented: "This act will hugely boost Britain's competitiveness in transport, energy provision, housing development and nationally significant infrastructure projects. Cost-efficient infrastructure development is all part of the government's long-term economic plan, boosting competitiveness, jobs and growth.

"Good transport is fundamental in helping our economy grow, which is why the government is making record levels of investment. That's why we're building a transport system that helps you get on and get around. Through the creation of Highways England, we expect to see savings to the taxpayer of at least £2.6 billion over the next ten years." 

In addition, the Infrastructure Act aims to cut some of the red tape that currently surrounds construction projects. For example, new rules will come into play that can allow unused public sector land to be sold more easily, therefore meaning more space should become available for building new homes.

Furthermore, the bill will assist in putting an end to unreasonable delays affecting projects that have previously been granted planning permission, but never got off the ground properly.

The Infrastructure Act also includes clauses relating to the Land Registry, which will be able to undertake more services to improve conveyancing processes, as well as create a digital local land charges register. This database will help to standardise fees, while improving turnaround times in both the domestic and commercial property sectors.

Posted by William Rodriquez

Image courtesy of Thinkstock/artJazz