There is a critical need to improve the national networks to address road congestion and crowding on the railways, to facilitate safe and reliable journeys, and to provide a transport network that is capable of stimulating and supporting economic growth. There is also an equally important need to ensure improvements have minimal impact on the environment, are well designed and improve safety.
The national networks national policy statement (NPS) sets the policy against which the Secretary of State for Transport will make decisions on applications for development consent for nationally significant infrastructure projects on the road and rail networks and strategic rail freight interchanges. The statement is based on existing Government policy and only applies to England.
Parliament has already played a valuable role in scrutinising the national networks NPS. I would like to thank the Transport Select Committee for its report, all those who contributed to the debate in another place, and those who also undertook important scrutiny work on the earlier drafts.
I am today taking the opportunity to lay before you the NPS for national networks in England pursuant to section 9(8) and 5(4) of the Planning Act 2008, and the Government’s response to the public consultation on the draft national networks NPS, which commenced in December 2013 for a period of 12 weeks.
Copies of all documents have been made available in the Libraries of both Houses and I am also publishing these documents on the Department’s website, with an updated version of the appraisal of sustainability, a post-adoption statement and other supporting documents.