The Development Consent Order (DCO) application for the scheme – which would re-open the Portishead to Bristol rail line and enhance local passenger services on the Severn Beach and Westbury/Bath to Bristol lines - was first submitted to the DfT in November 2019.
The application process also included an examination in public which took six months and ended in April last year. Today’s announcement from the DfT extends the deadline for a decision on the DCO to 19 February 2023.
Councillor Don Davies, Leader of North Somerset Council, said: “We are incredibly disappointed to hear that there will be a further delay in agreeing the DCO, which will have continued cost implications for the scheme.
“Despite these delays, the Portishead line remains a key scheme putting jobs and infrastructure into the heart of our economic growth strategy, creating sustainable travel links around the area.
"The financial challenges for the project as a result of increased costs from the pandemic and construction and energy inflation are very significant, in addition to further costs of delay posed by today’s announcement. The DfT are key funding partners, alongside the West of England Combined Authority and North Somerset Council. By not committing any further funding, they are undermining our ability to deliver the project. We will continue to lobby government for additional funding to address the shortfall."