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Hammond unveils new project prioritisation process

Transport secretary Philip Hammond has unveiled a new five-stage process for prioritising transport investment in England.

It will replace the New Approach to Appraisal (Nata) introduced by the last Labour government.

The new approach emphasises risk management and deliverability of schemes. Nata, introduced in 1998, was focused on cost benefit analysis and environmental impact assessment.

The new Transport Business Case (TBC) system will force project promoters seeking Department for Transport (DfT) funding to satisfy five criteria. They must show that projects

  • are in line with government strategy,
  • demonstrate value for money,
  • are commercially viable,
  • are affordable and,
  • can be delivered to time and to budget.

Each of the criteria is contained in separate documents published by the DfT last month.

“The evidence supporting decisions needs to be robust,” said Hammond. “This approach ensures decisions are made by taking account of all the relevant information set out in five cases, consistent with the Treasury Green Book,” he said.

Reduced carbon emissions

“This means that there will no longer be a separate process called Nata.”

The changes also incorporate an increase in the monetary value of reduced carbon emissions.

It is hoped this will boost the economic case for schemes that reduce carbon emissions while weakening those for schemes that result in higher carbon emissions.

Earlier scheme planning encouraged

To help promoters compare and refine schemes at an early stage, Hammond has also published an Early Assessment and Sifting Tool (EAST).

The DfT hopes that this will help promoters refine options by highlighting adverse impacts or unanticipated consequences.

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