I have been asked by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, to make this written ministerial statement. This statement concerns the application made by North Somerset District Council under the Planning Act 2008 for the construction of a new railway on the trackbed on the former branch line from Bristol to Portishead.
Under section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make his decision within three months of receipt of the examining authority’s report unless exercising the power under section 107(3) to extend the deadline and make a statement to the Houses of Parliament announcing the new deadline. The Secretary of State received the examining authority’s report on the Portishead branch line-MetroWest phase 1 development consent order application on 19 July 2021 and the current deadline for a decision was 19 October 2021.
The deadline for the decision is to be extended to 19 April 2022—an extension of six months—to allow further consideration of environmental matters.
The decision to set new deadlines is without prejudice to the decisions on whether to grant development consent for the above application.