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Regional Transport Strategy

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Each of the eight English regions has a Regional Transport Strategy. A Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) is a policy document, guided by national policy objectives, that sets the framework for local authorities to develop their five year Local Transport Plans. The Regional Transport Strategy forms part of the wider Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) which is a statutory planning document required by central Government (The Planning Portal 2010). These are produced by the designated Regional Planning Body. Regional Transport Strategies have been required since the (now abolished) Regional Assemblies were established in 1998.



A timeline of changes to the requirements for regional transport planning since 1998 is set out below:

Year Development
  • The transport White Paper: A New Deal for Transport (DfT 1998) sets the national context for regional and local transport policy. 21 multi-modal studies are commissioned to inform the development of transport strategies for nationally important elements of the transport network (DfT 2009).
  • The Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 (HMSO 1998) is passed: Eight indirectly elected Regional Assemblies are set up for the English regions and the directly elected London Assembly is established.
  • The Regional Assemblies act as Regional Planning Bodies responsible for producing and maintaining (non statutory) Regional Planning Guidance notes which incorporate a Regional Transport Strategy.
  • Updated Regional Planning Guidance notes incorporating Regional Transport Strategies are in place for the English regions.
2002 - 2004
  • The multi-modal transport studies are published.
  • Some regions update their Regional Transport Strategies based in part on the findings of the multi-modal studies.
  • The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (HMSO 2004) is passed: Regional Planning Guidance is renamed the Regional Spatial Strategy which is made a statutory document. The Regional Spatial Strategy incorporates the Regional Transport Strategy.
  • As the designated Regional Planning Bodies at the time, the Regional Assemblies are required to produce draft Regional Spatial Strategies. These are to be subject to public examination and consultation before final approval by central Government.
  • The regions produce draft Regional Spatial Strategies.
  • The Government announces that the Regional Assemblies are to be abolished (HM Treasury 2007). They will be replaced by Local Authority Leaders Boards which may or may not take over the role of the Regional Planning Body responsible for regional transport policy.
  • Most, but not all of the Regional Spatial Strategies have been approved by the Secretary of State.
  • The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (HMSO 2009) is passed.
  • The Regional Assemblies have all been abolished.
  • Linked to the passing of the Local Democracy Act 2009, it is announced that Regional Spatial Strategies and Regional Economic Strategies are to be replaced by a single Regional Strategy (The Planning Portal 2010).

The development of transport strategies for the English regions

As a result of these changes, each of the English regions has been required to produce at least two Regional Transport Strategies since 1998.

The first Regional Transport Strategies were incorporated in the non-statutory Regional Planning Guidance notes for each region. These were published circa 2001.

The second, now current Regional Transport Strategies are incorporated in the statutory Regional Spatial Strategies, most (though not all) of which had received approval from central Government by the end of 2009.

The published Regional Planning Guidance (circa 2001) and Regional Spatial Strategy (circa 2009) documents for each of the English regions are listed below. In some cases, an interim Regional Transport Strategy was produced in between the publication of Regional Planning Guidance and final approval of the Regional Spatial Strategy:

Region Regional Planning Guidance Regional Spatial Strategy
South West England
  • RPG10:South West Regional Planning Guidance (DTLR 2001)
Draft Regional Spatial Strategy to 2026 (GOSW 2006)
South East England
  • RPG9:Regional Planning Guidance for the South East (GOSE 2001)
  • From crisis to cutting edge: Draft Regional Transport Strategy (SEERA 2002)
  • Regional Transport Strategy Amendment to RPG9 (SEERA 2004)
South East Plan Regional Spatial Strategy (GOSE 2009)
East of England
  • RPG6: Regional Planning Guidance for East Anglia (GOEE 2000)
  • Report on the East of England Regional Transport Strategy (Copley 2003)
East of England Plan to 2021 (GOEE 2008)
West Midlands
  • RPG11 (Jun 2004)
Regional Spatial Strategy for the West Midlands (GOWM 2008)
East Midlands
  • RPG8:Regional Planning Guidance for the East Midlands (GOEM 2002)
East Midlands Regional Plan (GOEM 2009)
Yorkshire and Humberside
  • RPG12 (Oct 2001)
The Yorkshire and Humberside Plan Regional Spatial Strategy to 2026 (GOYH 2008)
North West England
  • RPG13: Regional Planning Guidance North West (GONW 2003)
North West of England Plan Regional Spatial Strategy to 2021 (GONW 2008)
North East England
  • RPG1: Regional Planning Guidance North East (GONE 2002)
North East of England Plan Regional Spatial Strategy to 2021 (GONE 2008)

See also


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