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New framework for port development

Ports around England and Wales will have a new planning framework to work in when considering development, thanks to the launch of the Government’s new National Policy Statement (NPS) for the sector.

The new NPS – which is subject to public consultation – sets out the broad need for additional ports capacity up to 2030 and beyond, taking such things as freight demand forecasts and the economic benefits of ports into account. The document builds on existing Government policy, which is that the need for ports capacity can best be met with an efficient and competitive industry working in a free-market environment. This new document also includes wider Government objectives for sustainable development, covering issues such as climate change considerations and the wider environmental impact of port development.

This is one of the first National Policy Statements to be published, in line with the wider Government reforms to the planning system included in last year’s Planning Act. The NPS is designed to provide a clear framework for both port developers and the new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC). It will play an important part in any decisions taken by the Commission when considering applications for new developments.

Shipping minister, Paul Clark, said:

"With over 90% of all goods arriving in the UK by sea, our ports currently employ over 54,000 people and clearly play a crucial role in the daily life of everybody in this country. While it is completely right that ports are free to operate on a commercial basis, any planned development clearly needs to be considered carefully to ensure local and environmental issues are properly taken into account. This new document will make it easier for those wishing to invest in ports development to submit planning applications, as well as providing an important framework for the IPC to use when considering them."

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