Transport Issues

News, analysis and discussion of transport planning issues including congestion, congestion charging and airport expansion.

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Transport secretary Grant Shapps (pic: UK Parliament)

Transport secretary approves two M25 junction upgrades on green belt

The transport secretary has approved two development consent orders (DCOs) for upgrades of M25 junctions on green belt sites in east and west London, after concluding that a rise in carbon emissions from the projects would not undermine the government's net zero pledges and their benefits would outweigh harm to the green belt.

Junction 11 of the M6 © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Secretary of state approves motorway link road on green belt

The transport secretary has granted development consent for a proposed link road connecting two motorways in the West Midlands, concluding that the project's benefits, including its "significant economic benefits", “clearly outweighed” its harm to the green belt.

The disused rail link between Pill and Portishead (pic: cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Sharon Loxton -

Shapps ‘minded to approve’ new Bristol to Portishead rail link

The transport secretary has said he is "minded" to approve a development consent order (DCO) application for the construction of a new rail link between Bristol and Portishead, but has extended a deadline to make a final decision on the project by a further ten months.

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Transport In Depth

Leeds City Council (Credit: John Lawson, Belhaven c/o Getty Images)

How infrastructure considerations produced two contrasting decisions on major housing schemes

For Taylor Wimpey, the end of November presented a mixed planning picture in the north of England with two contrasting decisions, both of which hinged on key infrastructure issues.

What the cancellation of the Oxford-Cambridge expressway means for planning and development in the area

The government's cancellation of a planned expressway linking Oxford and Cambridge indicates that other major road projects may now be called into question due to conflict with climate change targets, observers suggest. But local plan preparation and development work are likely to benefit now that the uncertainty the road project had created is over.

The Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects that progressed over the winter

Key planning stages reached by Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects between November 2020 and January 2021

The Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects that progressed over the summer

Key planning stages reached by Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects between June and August 2020

Transport Comment

Higher densities and better public transport would reinvigorate UK cities, by Cliff Hague

Seventy-five years of land-use focused planning has put pressure on people to live away from inner cities and public transport links, depriving many areas of the benefits that the country’s economic powerhouses such as London provide. A more integrated, transport-aware, approach is needed.

Legal Viewpoint: Why Stonehenge road decision was based on poor foundations

The government plainly needs to up its game. The three most recent decisions of its secretaries of state to approve development consent orders (DCOs) for nationally significant infrastructure projects against examiners’ recommendations have all been quashed: the Norfolk Vanguard wind farm, Manston Airport and now the A303 trunk road improvement in Wiltshire.

Electric cars: the issues that planners need to consider, by Cliff Hague

As the government ramps up its plans to encourage the purchase of electric cars, planners must think about how neighbourhoods will change, and adapt their thinking around travel and mobility.

Letter: It’s time to make tough decisions about the Oxford-Cambridge arc

The recent abandonment of the expressway linking Oxford and Cambridge is the latest indication that key issues must be addressed over the Oxford-Cambridge arc, with the question still remaining over what it actually is and what it is really for.