The Queen’s speech saw the Government prepare to take high speed rail to the North and reiterate commitments to develop the driverless and electric car industries, while also boosting protection for national infrastructure security.
Her majesty announced a new high speed rail Bill to provide the powers to build and operate the HS2 network between Birmingham and Crewe. Construction on Phase One between London and Birmingham is due to start next year.
Following the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill, which was put forward in the last Parliament, a new Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill was also announced ‘to allow the regulatory framework to keep pace with the fast evolving technology for electric cars, helping improve air quality as well as provide for the installation of charging points for electric and hydrogen vehicles’.
It would also extend compulsory motor vehicle insurance to cover the use of automated vehicles, ‘to ensure that compensation claims continue to be paid quickly, fairly, and easily, in line with longstanding insurance practice’.
Recent months have been a horrific period for the nation’s security, with vehicles used as weapons by terrorists leading to barriers being installed on bridges across London as well as busy pedestrian tourist spots.
Her majesty announced: ‘My government will bring forward proposals to ensure that critical national infrastructure is protected to safeguard national security.’
However the Government’s proposals are based around the ownership of critical infrastructure by foreign groups specifically allowing the Government to carry out investigations and due diligence on them.
‘The proposals will ensure that the Government has the information it needs to assess threats to national security and the powers to act on them,’ Government briefings stated.
‘The Government will bring forward proposals to consolidate and strengthen Government’s powers to protect national security. This will ensure that foreign ownership of companies controlling important infrastructure does not undermine British security or essential services.’
On a global scale the UK’s infrastructure will have to adapt in light of action on climate change.
The Government ‘will continue to support international action against climate change, including the implementation of the Paris Agreement’, her majesty said.