One of the cornerstones of the Planning Act regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects is that government policy should be set out in advance rather than have to be debated when applications are considered, in a series of National Policy Statements (NPSs). While NPSs have been published for energy, ports, waste water and hazardous waste projects, there is no sign of one for road and rail projects.

The reason for this was originally the introduction of the HS2 railway project, followed by the change in government, but the continued delay has not been fully explained. The draft may well not appear until early 2013 now, because the government has recently pledged to publish a draft ‘Transport Strategy’ this December, and the NPS will wait until that has been settled before it can come out.