The Government's decision to give the go ahead for High Speed 2 raises the important question about how this kind of investment can be linked in planning for housing and jobs and to rebalancing our economy. To make the most of transport investment, and to minimise the disruption and negative impact, transport decisions need to take account of the big picture and be allied with complimentary and remedial measures.
The RTPI believes that spatial planning at a national level can provide the much needed overview of social, environmental and economic considerations which would enable Government to better judge the need and effect of transport schemes. Crucially, spatial planning also has the ability to unlock growth by providing businesses and local communities with the information they need to make well informed decisions.
The proper planning of high speed rail links could be the catalyst for the kind of spatial dimension which the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) lacks, and which the RTPI and the recent Select Committee report on the NPPF asks for.
The RTPI welcomed the Government's decision to consider the long term infrastructure needs of the country in the National Infrastructure Plan, and welcomes in principle serious attempts to deal with the long term transport needs of the country in a manner which takes account of climate change.
The Institute does not comment on individual planning cases, and therefore has no comment on the choice of route for High Speed 2.