The Freight Transport Association has today (17 August) submitted its response to the Government consultation on reforms to the English and Welsh planning system. In this response FTA has set out its view that the proposals for an Infrastructure Planning Commission to assess Major Infrastructure Projects will be a significant step forward for the UK economy as a whole.
FTA's Christopher Snelling said, 'The problem we face at the moment is not that too many projects are being rejected, but that decisions either way take far too long and are too expensive. For example, the Southampton Container Terminal's proposals to develop port capacity at Dibden Bay took four years and £45m to get a rejection. If that decision had been reached in one year, we would now be three years closer to an alternative, more suitable development that would meet the urgent need of the UK for more port capacity.
'The Government's proposals should address this issue, and give developers a more transparent process against which they can develop their proposals. This will promote the urgently needed investment in Britain's transport infrastructure.'
FTA rejects claims that the environment will suffer under these proposals. Snelling said, 'Environmental considerations should, and will, be an integral part of planning policy – but this debate right now is about the system, not the policy. The system should work, which means decisions, either way, given within a reasonable timeframe.
'The debate about how environmental consideration fits into planning policy will come later, when the contents of the Government's National Policy Statements are decided.
'The long-term effect of these changes will be to make the UK more internationally competitive and to improve the standard of living of the people of this country, without cost to the environment.'
The Government's consultation paper, 'Planning for a Sustainable Future' can be found at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1510503
FTA's response to this can be found on the FTA website at:
The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies needing to move goods by road, rail, sea and air. These include retailers, exporters, pharmaceutical companies and others. FTA members consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight. They also use over 200,000 goods vehicles – almost half the UK fleet.