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Shapps approves Norfolk NSIP

Words: Laura Edgar

A Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) application for the Great Yarmouth Third River Crossing scheme has been approved by transport secretary Grant Shapps.

The application form, submitted by Norfolk County Council, states that the scheme comprises the construction, operation and maintenance of a crossing of the River Yare. 

This would link the A47 at Harfrey's roundabout on the western side of the river to the A1243 South Denes Road on its eastern side. 

The "double leaf bascule (lifting) bridge" involves the construction of two new 'knuckles' extending the quay wall into the river to support the bridge, the submission explains. 

The Planning Inspectorate - the examining authority - recommended that a development consent order (DCO) be granted. 

Shapps and the inspector considered the application in accordance with the National Policy Statement (NPS) for National Networks (NPSNN) and the National Policy Statement for Ports (NPSP).

They agreed that navigation matters had been "robustly examined" and that there were no outstanding issues likely to cause navigational dangers; that the development is compliant in terms of flood risk; that the transport and traffic effects would be positive and therefore should afforded significant weight in favour of granting the DCO; that the overall social and economic effects of the scheme would be positive due to the "enhanced connectivity and economic development benefits"; and that scheme would not affect the UK’s "ability to comply with the EU Ambient Air Quality Directive".

The examining authority found that there would be some adverse visual effects on "a small number of sensitive receptors such as private properties". They agreed though that these "are not unacceptable in planning terms'' with Shapps satisfied that the crossing is compliant with the NNNPS policy. They concluded that the effect on water quality would be neutral.

Overall, the benefits of the scheme outweighed any harm identified.

Norfolk County Council said it would now submit a final business case to the government. If approved, it would unlock £98 million of national funding to go towards the estimated £120 million cost of the project. 

Graham Plant, deputy leader at both Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said the scheme will make getting around easier for many people currently living and working in the borough, and that "it will support the town’s key industries, including those linked to the offshore energy and maritime sectors, tourism and manufacturing".  

"This is more important than ever now as we seek to help Norfolk’s economy recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Construction is scheduled to begin early in 2021 with the bridge expected to be open for use in 2023.

The decision letter and all documents relating to the scheme can be found on the Planning Inspectorate website.  

Image credit | Chris McAndrew