Transport Committee: Press notice

Session 2008-09, 10 November 2009

New Inquiry and Call for Evidence

New Inquiry and Call for Evidence

Inquiry into the proposal for a National Policy Statement on Ports

Terms of reference and call for evidence

The Transport Committee has today launched an inquiry into the proposal for a National Policy Statement (NPS) on Ports, published by the Department for Transport on Monday 9 November. The Committee's scrutiny will focus on the following four main areas:

  1. Responses to the questions in the Department's consultation;
  2. Do the general planning principles set out in the proposal for a National Policy Statement on Ports form a coherent, appropriate, proportionate and practical framework within which the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) can asses future port planning applications;
  3. Are the sustainability and environmental criteria outlined in the draft Ports NPS appropriate, proportionate and practical, and
  4. Have issues or principles which should have been included in the draft Ports NPS been left out.

Chairman Louise Ellman MP said: "Ports are an important part of the national infrastructure and they make a very significant contribution to the economy. The principles and guidelines set out in National Policy Statements will affect the granting of planning permissions for major schemes, and will therefore affect many communities, businesses and other stakeholders across the country. It is vital that we get National Policy Statements right. The Transport Committee is therefore keen to hear about the views or concerns of everyone with an interest in the proposed Ports NPS."

As part of its evidence gathering, and to reduce the burden on those submitting responses, the Committee will be receiving copies of written submissions made to the Department's consultation, unless those submitting request otherwise. The Committee would also welcome comments from those who are not making a submission to the Department, or who wishes to make additional comments beyond what is said in their evidence to the Department. Comments sent directly to the Committee should adhere to the guidelines set out below. Although the Department's consultation is open for longer, the Committee can only take account of submissions made before Friday 15 January in order to be able to complete its report on time.

Note to Editors:

The draft National Policy Statement (NPS) on Ports is one of a series of draft NPSs, published on Monday 9 November, under the Planning Act 2008. The Act established a new framework for the assessment and approval of planning proposals for nationally significant infrastructure projects such as ports, airports or major new railway lines.

The Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) is a new body created to assess such infrastructure planning proposals. The IPC will base its decisions on individual planning applications on a broad policy framework and key planning principles set out by the Government in National Policy Statements.

The right of Parliament to scrutinise proposals for National Policy Statements is an important new power, and it falls to Select Committees to undertake the detailed scrutiny, potentially followed by a debate on the floor of the House. The Liaison Committee of the House has today allocated the National Policy Statement on Ports to the Transport Committee for parliamentary scrutiny.

Guidance on submitting evidence

It assists the Committee if those submitting written evidence adhere to the following guidelines:

  1. Submissions should be as short as is consistent with conveying the relevant information. As a rough guide, it is usually helpful if they can be confined to six pages or less. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference. A single-page summary of the main points is sometimes helpful. The submission should be in a form suitable for monochrome photocopying.
  2. Evidence should be submitted in Word or Rich Text format, by e-mail to The body of the e-mail should include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. It should be absolutely clear who the submission is from, particularly whether it is on behalf of an organisation or in the name of an individual.
  3. Once accepted by the Committee, written evidence becomes the Committee's property and it may decide to publish it or make other public use of it. You should not publish evidence submitted to the Committee. If you wish your submission, or any part of it, to be treated as confidential, then please indicate this clearly when you submit it.
  4. Though the Committee is happy to receive copies of published material, formal submissions of evidence should be original work and not published elsewhere.
  5. Committee staff are happy to give further advice on any aspect of the Committee's work by phone or e-mail.