This speech commenced with an introduction by the Prime Minister David Cameron MP and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP. During which the prime minister mentioned that the “Queen’s speech marks the next big step in our long-term plan for Britain”. The speech comprised of various main subjects including: – PENSIONS TAX BILL – PRIVATE PENSIONS BILL – INFRASTRUCTURE BILL – NATIONAL INSURANCE CONTRIBUTIONS BILL – SMALL BUSINESS, ENTERPRISE AND EMPLOYMENT BILL Infrastructure Bill encompasses the queen’s statement as below: “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:
- Invasive non-native species
- Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects
- Deemed discharge for certain planning conditions
- Public Sector Land Assets
- Land Registry
The following issues are covered in the energy and planning conditions elements.
- 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.
- 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.
What can be concluded from this part of the speech is that the government is planning to do even more to decrease the permitted levels of carbon emission in buildings and to achieve energy independency via sustainable homes. Syntegra Consulting is a leading energy consulting company in the UK – for further information regarding zero carbon buildings, energy efficiency and renewable energy investments, please telephone +44(0)1184028520 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org