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Planners slam new ports planning policy

The new National Policy Statement (NPS) for ports is: “unfit for purpose” and “half-baked” according to planning body the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

NPSs will inform the decision making of the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), which will open its doors to business next week.

When it begins work, the IPC expect to have some 40 schemes to consider in its first year of operation.

Acting Director Policy & Partnerships at the RTPI, Matt Thomson, said: “The draft national policy statement on ports is not fit for purpose as it fails to justify the need for building any new ports, or give any guidance on how they should relate to road and rail networks or centres of industry or population.

“Instead it leaves decisions about where ports should be entirely for the market to determine, which offers no security for investors or for local communities that may be affected. Nor does it consider impacts on Britain’s existing ports, improvements to which may be a better option than building an entirely new port.

“There is no identified urgency to provide new ports in the UK, with a number of port developments already under construction. The RTPI therefore urges the Department for Transport to think again about the need for this ports policy, instead of rushing out a half-baked proposal,” he said.

New ports will be needed to build, amongst other things, new offshore windfarms which the government says could provide some 25% of the UK’s power - 32GW - by 2020.

While no applications are pending for new ports, three new applications have been lodged with the IPC for new offshore windfarms - at:

  • 1.2GW Triton Knoll (Round 2) - RWE Innology
  • 1.5GW Atlantic Array Windfarm (Round 3) - RWE NPower Renewables
  • 4.2GW Irish Sea Offshore Windfarm (Round 3) - Centrica energy 

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