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Transport Select Committee pushes for National Policy Statement on railways and roads

29 November 2013

In its report into Access to Ports, the Transport Select Committee agreed with the Royal Town Planning Institute that the delay publishing a National Policy Statement (NPS) on railways and roads is unsatisfactory and expressed its concern over the lack of clarity in the governance of strategic planning arrangements around funding for transport provision.

The Department for Transport’s delay over publication an NPS on railways and roads is a serious barrier to thinking widely about where development should go

Richard Blyth, RTPI’s Head of Policy, Practice and Research, who gave evidence to the Select Committee said: “MPs on the Transport Select Committee endorse two of the RTPI’s key points, that the Department for Transport’s delay over publication an NPS on railways and roads is a serious barrier to thinking widely about where development should go. There is a risk of over complication of the strategic planning agenda in England. Publishing the NPS and giving clarity over the governance of strategic planning would be two positive things the Government could do to promote growth.”

The RTPI, in its evidence to the Select Committee, said:

"There is an exceedingly urgent need for National Policy Statement on railways and roads. It is now over four years since the Planning Act 2008 and there seems to be no sign of an NPS. But even with such an NPS the issue of planning all modes of transport in an integrated manner, and in a way which ensures strong connections with housing, and reaps the cross-sector benefits, would still not necessarily be addressed."

The RTPI also suggested that the post-2015 arrangements whereby transport funding transport funding would be subsumed into a new Single Local Growth Fund and that LEPs would decide on how this money should be spent would make it strategic planning will be extremely difficult and the outcomes poorer as a result: the “very complex geometry of strategic planning for different purposes will be suboptimal”