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April 2021:

The Examination stage of the DCO was completed on 19 April 2021. The DCO now moves into the 3-month Recommendation and Decision stage (Stage 5 of 6) at the end of which the Planning Inspectorate reports to the Secretary of State.


February 2021:

The search for contractors to build the proposed line has begun, with Network Rail launching the procurement process.


January 2021:

Network Rail will be carrying out ground and structural investigations on and around the railway through Pill from Wednesday 20th January until 25th April.


20 October 2020:

The Planning Inspectorate held the Preliminary Meeting to discuss Examination procedures for the Portishead Branch Line – MetroWest Phase 1 in two parts on 6 and 19 October. See PINS website for details.

The main 6 month Examination stage has now commenced.


13 Aug 2020:

Covid-19 has caused an inevitable delay to the DCO examination process of about 4 months. Start of services was planned for Dec 2023 but will now be sometime in 2024. See Press article North Somerset Times 12 Aug 2020.


10 June 2020:

A MetroWest news update says that it is still awaiting an examination date from the Planning Inspectorate whose latest update is as follows:


“Consistent with the Written Ministerial Statement of 13 May 2020, the Examining Authority is considering whether and how virtual events should proceed for this case, including the practical measures needed to ensure fair participation by all. An update will be provided as soon as one is available.”


1 May 2020:

A meeting of North Somerset Council Executive on 29 April confirmed further expenditure for the coming year and clarified the potential impact of Covid-19. The budget for the project remains at £116 million. The meeting approved expenditure of £6.1 million for 2020/21 which covers legal, land, environmental and technical rail work to support the DCO process and addresses questions and work required by the Planning Inspectorate during the DCO process. It also approved the procurement during 2020/21 of £7 million of highways and civil engineering work, so that this work is ready to proceed as and when the DCO process is completed. This is also needed for the Full Business Case approval, which will follow as soon as the DCO is approved.


21 March 2020:

The Planning Inspectorate has published 129 relevant representations from those who registered to put their case on the DCO scheme. These can be viewed on the PINS website. The DCO is now in the 3rd stage (pre-examination) of 6.


5 March 2020:

The annual vegetation cut of the disused line between Portishead and Pill has been completed. The cut is essential to ensure continued survey access and to reduce overgrowth in preparation for the construction phase.


15 January 2020:

A hard copy of the Development Consent Order documents can now be viewed at Portishead Library, Pill Resource Centre and Bristol Library until 26 February 2020 (Note: The documents total 20,735 pages!). The documents can also be viewed online at:


https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-west/portishead-branch-line-metrowest-phase-1/.


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