The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions Project Appraisal Framework for Ports document aims to bring port development in line with its sustainable transport policy.
'Appraisal objectives' include safety, economic, environmental and accessibility considerations, as well as the integration of a scheme with transport, land use and 'other government policies'. Objectives cover commercial viability and operational matters.
Although the final document will not have any legal force, it will represent government policy. Government organisations or state funded projects will be required to adopt its recommendations.
While private port operators could ignore them, planning inspectors would be likely to use the guidelines as a yardstick.
All responses to the proposals must be received by 5 April.