The Queen's Speech - 4 June 2014 - Infrastructure Bill

Extract from the Queen's Speech on 4 June 2014 detailing the proposed Infrastructure Bill

Infrastructure Bill

“My government will introduce a Bill to bolster investment in infrastructure and reform planning law to improve economic competitiveness. The Bill will enhance the United Kingdom’s energy independence and security by opening up access to shale and geothermal sites and maximising North Sea resources. Legislation will allow for the creation of an allowable solutions scheme to enable all new homes to be built to a zero carbon standard and will guarantee long term investment in the road network.”

The purpose of the Bill is to:

Bolster investment in infrastructure by allowing stable long term funding, deliver better value for money and relieve unnecessary administrative pressures. The Bill would increase transparency of information provision and improve planning processes, allowing us to get Britain building for our future and compete in the global race

The main benefits of the Bill would be to:

  • Direct funding to where it is most needed to deliver better economic outcomes, creating the right conditions for sustainable growth.
  • Create jobs and improve economic competitiveness across areas of transport, energy provision, housing development and nationally significant infrastructure projects.
  • Speed up the pace of delivery in key areas of infrastructure developments whilst still safeguarding the need for communities to be involved.

The main elements of the Bill are:


  • The Bill would turn the Highways Agency into a Government owned company, with the stable, long term funding needed to plan ahead.
  • It would create units within Passenger Focus and the Office of Rail Regulation to represent the interests of road users and to monitor the company’s performance.

Invasive non-native species

  • The Bill would allow for Species Control Orders to control the invasive, non-native species that pose serious threats to biodiversity, the water environment and infrastructure.

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

  • The Bill would simplify the process for making changes to Development Consent Orders (DCO) by speeding up non-material changes to a DCO, and allowing simplified processes for material changes.
  • The Bill would allow the Examining Authority to be appointed immediately after an application has been accepted and for the panel to comprise two inspectors, speeding up the process and saving money.

Deemed discharge for certain planning conditions

  • The Bill would allow certain types of planning conditions to be discharged upon application if a local planning authority has not notified the developer of their decision within a prescribed time period, reducing unnecessary delay and costs.

Public Sector Land Assets

  • The Bill would permit land to be transferred directly from arms-length bodies to the Homes and Communities Agency, reducing bureaucracy and managing land more effectively.
  • The Bill would ensure that future purchasers of land owned by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Greater London Authority will be able to develop and use land without being affected by easements and other rights and restrictions suspended by the Agency

Land Registry

  • The Bill would transfer statutory responsibility for the local land charges register and delivery of local land charges searches to the Land Registry supporting the delivery of digital services and extend Land Registry’s powers to enable it to provide information and register services relating to land and other property.


  • The Bill would enable the Secretary of State to give communities the right to buy a stake in their local renewable electricity scheme so that they can gain a greater share in the associated financial benefits
  • Subject to consultation, this Bill would support the development of gas and oil from shale and geothermal energy by clarifying and streamlining the underground access regime.
  • The Government is currently running a full consultation on this policy and the legislation is entirely dependent on the outcome of that consultation.
  • Sir Ian Wood’s independent report estimates that full and rapid implementation will deliver at least 3-4 billion barrels of oil equivalent more than would otherwise be recovered over the next 20 years, bringing over £200 billion additional value to the UK economy.
  • The Government accepted Wood’s recommendations in full in February 2014, and is introducing measures in this Bill to put the principle of Maximising Economic Recovery of petroleum in the UK into statute.
  • The Government will also introduce a levy, making power so that the costs of funding a larger, better resourced regulator can be paid for by industry rather than by the taxpayer as is currently the case.

New homes built to a zero carbon standard

  • The Government is committed to implementing a zero carbon standard for new homes from 2016. But it is not always technically feasible or cost effective for house builders to mitigate all emissions on-site.
  • The Government would set a minimum energy performance standard through the building regulations. The remainder of the zero carbon target can be met through cost effective off-site carbon abatement measures – known as ‘allowable solutions’. These provide an optional, cost-effective and flexible means for house builders to meet the zero carbon homes standard, as an alternative to increased on-site energy efficiency measures or renewable energy (such as solar panels).
  • Small sites, which are most commonly developed by small scale house builders, will be exempt. The definition of a small site will be consulted on shortly, and set out in regulation.
  • The Zero Carbon Home standard will be set at Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes, but the legislation will allow developers to build to Level 4 as long as they offset through the allowable solutions scheme to achieve Code 5.
  • Energy efficiency requirements for homes are set in the Building Regulations 2010 and are made under powers in the Building Act 1984. But there are insufficient powers in the Building Act to introduce off-site allowable solutions, so the Government will now bring forward enabling powers for this.

Related documents:

Action for Roads: a network for the 21st century:

Transforming the Highways Agency into a government owned company and decision:

The Law Commission’s Wildlife Law Project:

The 2014 review of the nationally significant infrastructure planning regime and theGovernment’s response:

Land Registry: Wider Powers and Local Land Charges: Registry: New Service Delivery Company 04 June 201428

Existing legislation in this area is:

The Planning Act 2008

The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008

The Land Registration Act 2002

The Town and Country Planning Act 1990

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

The Local Land Charges Act 1975

The Transport Charges &c. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1954


The provisions relating to roads, Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, planning consents for local projects and public sector land assets would apply only to England. The provisions relating to the local land charge aspects of the Land Registry and invasive non-native species would apply to England and Wales. Where the Bill deals with devolved matters, we are engaging with the Devolved Administrations as needed

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