Consultation response to the National Network National Policy Statement

As with many Government policy statements in a time of change and transition, the draft NNNPS recognises the need for change while at the same time resisting a full commitment to it. In our view, this inevitably leads to ambiguity and subsequently to disagreement over the real impact and value for money of specific schemes. This generates conflicts which the current system is not capable of resolving - which then inevitably end up being arbitrated on by the courts. None of this leads to efficient, evidence-based decision making or to outcomes which stakeholders will accept, even if they don’t agree with them. Our point is that many decisions on NNNPS schemes may not be welcomed by all concerned but they will have wider acceptance if the processes by which they are reached are seen to be transparent and fair. This is not the case at present. Examinations in Public (EiPs) on Development Consent Orders (DCOs) where objector statements are subject to time limits in terms of minutes, where important issues are ruled as irrelevant and where technical information is withheld or incomplete lead to disillusionment and finally to cases in court. For this reason the DCO process itself has become highly legalistic. TPS does not consider this to be a satisfactory situation.

In terms of the new draft, we welcome the progress made since the last NNNPS but propose some changes to make it a more effective and practical tool to improve our national infrastructure policies and programmes, and therefore help to reduce some of the tensions that are frustrating the efficient delivery of schemes and initiatives.


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