Last edited 18 May 2016

Queens Speech 2016

On 18 May 2016, the Queen delivered her speech for the State Opening of Parliament for 2016/17. The purpose of the Queen’s Speech is to set out the government’s agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation.

The newly-announced bills of most relevance to the built environment and infrastructure include are summarise below:

Contents

[edit] Modern Transport Bill

In perhaps the most immediately eye-catching detail of the speech, this bill is intended to enable the future development of the UK’s first commercial spaceports, thereby putting Britain ‘at the forefront of the modern transport revolution’.

This is supported by a market study by the Teals Group which estimates that drone production will soar from the current worldwide production of $4 billion annually to $414 bn. The bill is to include new rules to bring safe commercial and personal drone flight a step closer for households and businesses.

The bill will also include new laws to make the UK ready for driverless cars. Trials are already underway, and it is thought by some that automated vehicles will begin to be introduced later in 2016.

[edit] Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill

This bill aims to support the Government’s ambitious target to deliver one million new homes, while protecting areas such as the Green Belt.

Measures are intended to reform planning and speed up the planning process by minimising delays caused by pre-commencement planning conditions. The Government wants to curtail processes that can slow down or stop the construction of homes after permission has been granted. Such conditions, it is intended, should only be imposed by local planning authorities when they are ‘absolutely necessary’.

The bill provides a new statutory basis for the independent National Infrastructure Commission. It also seeks to streamline processes that support neighbourhood cohesion in relation to the building of projects in local areas.

The bill will also enable the privatisation of the Land Registry, a plan that was dropped after a consultation by the Coalition government in 2014 when Liberal Democrat and Conservative politicians could not agree.

In his response speech, Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn said that privatisation was considered in the last two parliaments and rejected twice, and that he hoped the same thing will happen again.

[edit] Local Growth and Jobs Bill

This bill introduces new measures to allow combined authority mayors to levy business rate supplements to fund infrastructure projects where there is support from local business.

[edit] Digital Economy Bill

This bill will introduce new and simpler planning rules for broadband infrastructure and mobile networks.

[edit] Wales Bill

Further powers will be devolved to Welsh Ministers in relation to consent for all onshore wind power, and up to 350 megawatts for all other onshore and offshore energy projects.

The bill will also devolve to the Assembly powers in areas such as ports and sewerage services.


For more information, see Gov.uk’s Background notes to the Queen’s Speech.

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