My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will be publishing the final revision of the regional spatial strategy for the North West of England in late August or early September. On publication it will supersede the current RSS. Also to be published are the reports of a consolidated sustainability appraisal, a habitats regulations assessment and sustainability statement.
The published regional spatial strategy will form part of the statutory development plan for every local authority in the North West, and set the framework for the production of local development frameworks and local transport plans. It will provide the spatial plan for the development of the region, and the policy framework for employment, housing, transport and the environment.
The current strategy, initially published as regional planning guidance, became the regional spatial strategy in September 2004 with the enactment of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act. A draft revision of the regional spatial strategy was submitted to Government in January 2006 by the North West regional assembly. It was subsequently tested in an examination in public between November 2006 and February 2007, and the report of the independent panel which conducted this examination was published in May 2007. The Secretary of State considered the recommendations of this independent panel, and took into account the representations made on the draft revision, and also changes in Government policy since the draft revision was submitted, before publishing proposed changes for further public consultation between March and May 2008.
On publication, a further statement and copies of the relevant documents will be available in the Libraries of both Houses and copies sent to the region’s MPs and MEPs, members of the Opposition Front Bench and local authorities.