UK web domain holders will be able to retain their registrations for up to ten years instead of the current maximum of two years, beginning 1 May 2012.

The announcement has been made by Nominet, the not-for-profit organisation responsible for the safe and secure running of the .uk internet infrastructure, after a consultation among stakeholders.

"The change will give businesses and consumers the opportunity to lock in their domains for up to ten years, giving them security of tenure and a longer period between renewals, said Nominet.

One year registrations will also be available though, Nominet said. The changes, it said, will give the registration agents for .uk domain names "the opportunity to offer a more flexible service".

Lesley Cowley, CEO of Nominet, said: “For millions of businesses, their domain name is mission critical, from their website to the email addresses it supports. By offering longer registration periods, these businesses will have peace of mind that their domain name is secured for a number of years, and they won’t have to worry about renewing so frequently.”

In September reports claimed Nominet was set to agree to a new fast track process that would make it easier for the police to quickly shutter domains allegedly being used by criminals for fraud.

Police are usually required to have a court order before Nominet agrees to act against ".co.uk" domains allegedly being used for criminal purposes, something that can slow down the process of closing problem domains.

Nominet’s draft guidelines set out a streamlined "expedited" procedure as long as the police provide “a declaration that the suspension is proportionate, necessary, and urgent.”