4 August 2023
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Can strategic roads and sustainable development go hand in hand?

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The Department of Transport updated its circular on strategic road networks and sustainable development, focusing on reducing car use and promoting sustainable transportation. The circular affects England's motorways and major A roads, aligning with sustainable development principles. Developers are expected to prioritize sustainable transport in projects, and National Highways must adhere to sustainable development principles and support zero-emission transport. The circular shifts from predicting demand to outcome-based planning. Around 6,000 EV chargepoints are expected on roads by 2035. Despite these changes, a more comprehensive review is likely in the future, emphasizing sustainability and EV adoption in transport planning.

The Department of Transport (DfT) recently updated its circular on 'Strategic road network and the delivery of sustainable development'. This sets out the DfT's policy in relation to the Strategic Road Network, or SRN. The SRN is all of England's motorways and major A roads (4500 miles), carrying a third of all traffic and two-thirds of all freight. 

The circular has to be taken into account when planning authorities are setting policies and making decisions on planning and development proposals under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. They need to consult National Highways (formerly Highways England, who look after the SRN) as part of the process.

So it will affect any development proposal that may have an impact on the SRN.

What has changed?
What do I need to do?
What happens next?

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