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PPS 3 (Clarification): Access, Movement and Parking
Clarification of Policy AMP 3: Access to Protected Routes

Policy AMP 3: Access to protected Routes
The Department will restrict the number of new accesses and control the level of use of existing accesses onto Protected Routes as follows:
Motorways and High Standard Dual Carriageways - All locations
Planning permission will not be granted for development proposals involving direct access.  An exception may be considered in the case of motorway service areas.
Other Dual Carriageways, Ring Roads, Through-Passes and By-Passes - All Locations
Planning permission will only be granted for a development proposal involving direct access or the intensification of the use of an existing access in exceptional circumstances or where the proposal is of regional significance.
Other Protected Routes - Outside Settlement Limits
Planning permission will only be granted for a development proposal involving direct access, or the intensification of the use of an existing access in the following cases:
  • A replacement Dwelling - where a building to be replaced would meet the criteria for development within a Green Belt or Countryside Policy area and there is an existing vehicular access onto the Protected route.
  • A Farm Dwelling - where a farm dwelling, including a farm retirement dwelling, would meet the criteria for development within a Green Belt or Countryside Policy Area and access cannot reasonably be obtained from an adjacent minor road.
  • A Dwelling Serving an Established Commercial or Industrial Enterprise - where a dwelling would meet the criteria for development within a Green Belt or Countryside Policy Area and access cannot reasonably be obtained from an adjacent minor road.
  • Other Categories of Development - approval may be justified in particular cases for other developments which would meet the criteria for development within a Green Belt or Countryside Policy Area where access cannot reasonably be obtained from an adjacent minor road.
Other Protected Routes – Within Settlement Limits
Planning permission will only be granted for a development proposal involving direct access, or the intensification of the use of an existing access:
  • where access cannot reasonably be taken from an adjacent minor road; or
  • in the case of proposals involving residential development, it is demonstrated to the Department’s satisfaction that the nature and level of access onto the Protected Route will significantly assist in the creation of a quality environment without compromising standards of road safety or resulting in an unacceptable proliferation of access points.
The distinction between the various categories of Protected Routes is illustrated on the Protected Routes map.

Justification and Amplification

2.1 The Department has a long established policy of restricting access onto the main roads that facilitate the efficient movement of traffic over long distances in Northern Ireland. These roads contribute significantly to economic prosperity by providing efficient links between all the main towns, airports and seaports, and with the Republic of Ireland.
2.2 The roads onto which this policy of access control is exercised are known as ‘Protected Routes’ and comprise:
  • primary routes;·
  • routes between the principal town in each District and/or cross border;
  • routes to ports and airports; and
  • selected routes with high traffic flows.
This encompasses the roads element of the Regional Strategic Transport Network contained in the Regional Development Strategy.
2.3 DRD Roads Service has prepared an up to date map (see Annex A) identifying the existing roads throughout Northern Ireland established as Protected Routes. This now indicates the distinction between the various categories of Protected Routes and should be read together with the online schedule (which can be found at www.roadsni.gov.uk Opens link in a new browser window).. As new roads continue to be constructed DRD will update this schedule and the Protected Routes map as necessary.
2.4 The Protected Routes network has progressively been improved over the years, including the building of motorways, ring roads, through-passes, by-passes and dual carriageways. Such improvements to the strategic road network in Northern Ireland will continue in the future as part of Roads Service’s ongoing programme of investment. This will include the provision of High Standard Dual Carriageways1, a new standard of dual carriageway, similar in design terms to a motorway. It is important that a new access or intensified use of an existing access onto a Protected Route does not compromise their function of facilitating the free and safe movement of traffic or does not significantly add to congestion. Additionally on stretches of Protected Routes designed specifically to facilitate the efficient and safe movement of traffic, it is essential that access which would compromise road safety or prejudice their design standards, is severely restricted.
2.5 In all cases, where access to a Protected Route is acceptable in principle it will also be required to be safe in accordance with Policy AMP 2.
1 A High Standard Dual Carriageway is a dual carriageway with all junctions either ‘Grade Separated’ or ‘at-grade left-turn only’. There are no cross-overs on the central median.
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PPS 3 (Clarification)

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