Transport: National Policy Statements

Department for Transport written question – answered on 28th October 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Randerson Baroness Randerson Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Transport)

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the review of the National policy statement for national networks will not be completed until Spring 2023; how many road schemes are expected to commence before that date; and why have they decided to apply current policies developed before the commitment to net zero, for this interim period.

Photo of Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness Vere of Norbiton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Secretary of State announced on 22 July 2021 that a review of the National Networks NPS would be completed no later than Spring 2023. This is the time required to complete the entire review process including the review of the NPS itself and, should any amendments to the NPS be proposed, a public consultation on the revised NPS, and its designation by Parliament.

This review will include a thorough examination of the modelling and forecasts that support the statement of need for development and the environmental, safety, resilience and local community considerations that planning decisions must consider. This review will ensure it remains fit for purpose in supporting the Government’s commitments for appropriate development of infrastructure for road, rail, and strategic rail freight interchanges.

Twenty schemes are due to start work between now and spring 2023, with 13 of them requiring development consent orders.

The Planning Act 2008 gives the Secretary of State the power to suspend an NPS in part or in whole pending a review, on the condition that the considerations in Section 11 of the Act have been met. In this case, suspension of sections in the NPS relating to carbon emissions would have the effect of removing all guidance to planning inspectors on this subject, creating significant uncertainty (including lengthening the time applications will take) and the risk of inconsistency of approach between different applications. The review of the National Networks NPS will ensure that it is fully aligned to our commitment to net zero and the Government’s other climate change commitments.

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