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Railways: South-west Regional Planning Assessment

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 8 May 2007

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Tom Harris) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

The Department for Transport has today published the south-west regional planning assessment for the railway (RPA), the latest in the series of 11 RPAs covering England and Wales.

Copies of the document have been placed in the Libraries of the House today and can be downloaded from the department’s website at

The south-west RPA covers the entire south-west of England region including Bristol, Plymouth, Bournemouth/Poole, Exeter and Swindon.

RPAs provide the link between regional spatial planning (including preparation of regional transport strategies) and planning for the railway by both the Government and the rail industry, and are designed to inform the development of the Government's strategy for the railway. They look at the challenges and options for development of the railway over the next 20 years, in the wider context of forecast change in population, the economy and travel behaviour.

An RPA does not commit the Government to specific proposals. Instead it sets out the Government's current thinking on how the railway might best be developed to allow wider planning objectives for a region to be met, and identifies the priorities for further development work.

It is the Government’s intention to publish the remaining RPAs covering the Thames Valley, east Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, and Wales later this year.