Concerned that Britain may not see the result of his ambitious infrastructure projects for years, PM Boris Johnson is relying on Project Speed to fire up the economy. A new taskforce will be created to clear bottlenecks and slash completion times on a range of infrastructure and shovel ready projects. Headed up by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, the project will ensure that the billions in planned infrastructure spending hit their intended targets.
Johnson's desire to put a fire in the belly of the UK as he aims to 'build back better' should help to "dramatically accelerate" projects designed to revitalise the UK economy and make good on election promises to 'level up' the country. Johnson has always aimed to place infrastructure at the heart of his strategy, pointing out that Britain "has a proud heritage in building outstanding infrastructure - from the Victorians' pioneering railways, to the Thames Barrier that protects millions of Londoners from flooding."
The aim of the taskforce is to cut the time it takes to deliver infrastructure projects including the 40 hospitals and extensive school rebuilding programme to which the government is committed. This will be achieved by identifying outmoded practices that are a block to progress.
Getting projects off the ground
A Downing Street spokesperson pointed out that the response to Covid-19 had shown how quickly essential construction projects could be got off the ground, pointing to the success of the Nightingale hospitals. "As we recover from the pandemic we must apply that same urgency to the major projects at the foundations of this country and get them done right, to truly level up opportunity across the UK. There's now no excuse for delays. Infrastructure has the power to rebuild and repair our country - and we will do it better, faster and more strategically than before," the spokesperson said.
The Chancellor is due to use the forthcoming Spending Review and Autumn Budget to set the future direction of travel for construction across the UK. The government will also accelerate the funding needed for projects right across the UK, designed to create a more United Kingdom through improved transport links.
Clean and green
Alongside radical reforms to the planning regulations in order to free up developers to create the new affordable homes the UK needs, the government plans to reforest the UK by planting 75,000 acres of trees annually to 2025 and creating 5,000 jobs in the green economy. As the first country to enshrine net zero emissions by 2050 in law, a clean and green economy is one of the key drivers of the UK beyond Covid-19.
MPs are pushing for areas of the country to be designated as "green enterprise zones" that could become the focus of green research and manufacturing including modular construction.
Build back better, build back faster
In a major speech, the PM said his government is committed to tackling the great unresolved challenges that Britain has faced over the past 3 decades. Project Speed is tasked with helping to accelerate these changes and build Britain back better and, critically, faster.