The Office of Fair Trading has said that it will examine the ownership and control of economic infrastructure in Britain such as airports, ports, car parks and household utilities.

The OFT said it would map ownership and control of infrastructure and assess whether current ownership harms competition and leaves the consumer worse off.

This, the regulator said, would include examining different forms of ownership such as private equity, statutory corporations, infrastructure investment funds and limited companies.

The OFT said that the stock take could lead to further work in specific competition or consumer issues identified by the investigation.

Heather Clayton, Senior Director of OFT's Infrastructure Group, said, "Effective infrastructure is crucial to the performance and productivity of the UK economy, and the quality of life of UK consumers. There have been significant changes in ownership of infrastructure assets in both regulated and unregulated sectors of the economy over the past decade. We want to take this opportunity to step back and assess how these developments might have affected competition and consumers."