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Highways England: Planning Permission

Question for Department for Transport

UIN HL2387, tabled on 9 March 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how many holding directions Highways England have issued, broken down per English region, for each year since 2017; (2) the estimated costs of such delays, broken down per English region, for each year since 2017; and (3) what estimate they have made of the numbers of new homes and new jobs that have been delayed as a result of such directions.

Answered on

23 March 2020

Holding directions is a phrase used to describe where Highways England responds to a planning application with a recommendation of non-approval for a defined period.

In 2018/19 497 (12.7% of the total) responses made by Highways England were recommendations of non-approval for a defined period.

In 2017/18 502 (12.3%) of responses made by Highways England were recommendations of non-approval for a defined period.

In 2016/17 322 (8.5%) of responses made by Highways England were recommendations of non-approval for a defined period.

A regional breakdown of these figures is unavailable.

Highways England’s 2019/20 figures will be available in June 2020.

Highways England has not made an assessment of any costs attributable to delays or on the numbers of homes or jobs which may have been delayed as a result of holding recommendations.

The safe operation of the Strategic Road Network is Highways England’s primary concern in responding to planning applications. As such, Highways England has a responsibility to properly evaluate the consequences of proposed developments on the safe and effective operation of its strategic road network. Highways England will comprehensively investigate all evidence to understand the effect proposed developments could have on safety and the performance of the network for all road users. Not infrequently this work will take longer than the statutory deadlines set for Highways England to respond to the planning application consultation. In such circumstances, rather than issue a recommendation of non-approval, Highways England will issue a time limited recommendation of non-approval allowing liaison and negotiation on the development of a viable transport assessment (and solution) whilst keeping the application ‘live’.

Highways England is committed to supporting and enabling growth; its Growth & Housing designated fund has committed some £90million to 28 schemes worth almost £250million, that will enable delivery of up to 45,000 new homes and 44,000 new employment opportunities.