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22 June 2017

760: What the Queen’s Speech means for infrastructure

Today’s entry reflects on the Queen’s Speech.

Yesterday, the Queen gave her first speech of the 2017 to er, of the current Parliament. This is the first ‘session’ (ie period between Queen’s Speeches) of the 57th ‘Parliament’ (ie period between general elections) since 1801. You will see from any printed bills that it says ’57/1′ in the bottom right hand corner in recognition of this.

Unusually, there is to be no Queen’s Speech next year and this session is to last two years, officially because legislating for Brexit will take that long. Thus the listed bills could appear at any time during that period.

Speculation on whether the Queen’s hat was deliberately similar to the EU flag or not may have masked some of the proposals contained in her speech so read on for a summary. 22 bills and three draft bills were alluded to. The text of the speech, preceded by a foreword from the prime minister, plus a full list of bills and a briefing can be found here. If you want to know more about the host of Brexit bills, please read our Great Repeal Bill blog, which can be found here.

The next phase of HS2 is to come forwards, known as phase 2a, and will be consented by means of a hybrid bill entitled High Speed Rail (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill, which reveals the route it will take. More precisely it will start at Fradley, near Lichfield in Staffordshire, and join the West Coast Main Line south of Crewe in Cheshire. Phase 2b, the Crewe to Leeds and Manchester Y-shaped section, will have to wait until the 2019 Queen’s Speech. Not 2b, for the moment.

The HS2 2a bill is one of four for the Department for Transport: the other three are on automated and electric vehicles, the space industry and increased protection for tourists.

Although not the subject of a named bill, there will be proposals to protect critical national infrastructure. I think this is actually merely to merge the British Transport Police, Ministry of Defence Police and Civil Nuclear Constabulary. Will they be called the Infrastructure Police?

Also not a named bill but the contents of the recent housing white paper are to be implemented.

Extending price protection for energy consumers on the worst tariffs (aka a price cap) will either be through action by the regulator or legislation.

So there you have it. Nothing directly amending the infrastructure planning regime or compulsory purchase for a change, a bit of calm in a sea of – orderly withdrawal from the European Union.

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