British Ports Association sets out spending review priorities

Decarbonisation, Innovation, Infrastructure, Freeports and properly functioning and resourced regulators are key asks for future Government spending, set out in a letter to the UK Chancellor from the ports industry today. With EU Exit imminent, the BPA has also called for funding to future-proof the sector. As a member of umbrella group Maritime UK, the BPA's submission complements MUK's submission, which calls for a GBP1bn maritime decarbonisation programme.

Whilst the 'comprehensive spending review' may be on ice for another year, according to reports, the BPA delivered its submission to the Treasury today noting that reforms putting ports at the heart of regional economies should not be delayed. Industry requests from Government:

  • Transport: Government to deliver on the recommendations of the Department for Transport's Port Connectivity Study. Funding for local authorities to better manage and maintain critical last mile connections to ports.

    Replacement of the European Maritime Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

  • Infrastructure: A multi-year green maritime fund to support the specific and significant challenges to meet the sector's decarbonisation and environmental commitments as part of a wider GBP1bn maritime decarbonisation programme. A UK Infrastructure Bank to provide consistent credit and anchor investments.
  • Planning: Review of port planning and consenting regimes. Grant access for all ports to a new planning regime, regardless of Freeport status.

    Extension of Capital Allowances for port infrastructure.

  • Innovation: Continued support from Government to achieve 'Maritime 2050' targets.
    A supportive and enabling regulatory system: licensing authorities and regulators must have the resources they need to function effectively. This is key to enabling sustainable development.

Industry will provide in return:

  • Hubs of economic activity, jobs and investment in port regions around our coastline
  • An efficient, market-led ports sector responsive to users and contributing to the economy
  • A responsible industry which strives to minimise environmental impacts
  • Information to regional and national planners about how to stimulate maritime activity
  • Modern infrastructure and facilities for the UK's international trade, offshore fuel and energy generation, maritime and shipping services, marine tourism and recreation, as well as hubs for the fishing industry
  • A network of responsible UK anchored companies committed to their businesses
  • High standards of marine and landside safety
  • Skilled jobs and a well-qualified and trained workforce
  • The BPA to provide governance and safety briefings to ports and duty holders and to support the work of Port Skills and Safety in driving up standards across the sector
  • Commenting, Mark Simmonds, Head of Policy and External Affairs at the British Ports Association and Chair of Maritime UK's Policy Working Group said:

Whilst the Chancellor may understandably delay this process due to continuing uncertainty from covid-19, we hope the Government does not take its eye off decarbonisation and climate change, which is an urgent challenge. The asks we have submitted to Government in these five key areas cannot afford to wait another year.

Regardless of what process the Government chooses to examine its spending this year, it must recognise the importance of the maritime sector and the role it plays in supporting jobs and prosperity in coastal communities and also the tight timelines for meeting expectations around net zero. We listened to the Chancellor's statement today and were pleased to hear that the Government would extend support to businesses affected by the pandemic. This was a key ask from the sector's recovery plan.

We will be consulting with our members on the merits of the jobs support scheme in the coming days and weeks. Decarbonisation, Innovation, Infrastructure, Freeports and properly functioning and resourced regulators are key asks for future Government spending. Whilst the status of the planned 'comprehensive spending review' is now unclear, according to reports, nothing is stopping Government from pushing on with a series of reforms putting ports at the heart of regional economies.

With EU Exit imminent, the BPA has also called for funding to future-proof the sector. As a member of umbrella group Maritime UK, the BPA's submission complements MUK's submission, which calls for a GBP1bn maritime decarbonisation programme. Phoebe Warneford-Thomson, Policy and Economic Analyst at the BPA said:

This submission reiterates the critical importance of public investment in transport infrastructure in supporting ports, both directly and indirectly. The Government has set out its ambitions to 'build, build. build' and will hopefully recognise that this is now more important than it was before the pandemic. The industry is excited to proceed with implementing the Government's freeports programme.

We have warned again today, however, that an arbitrary cap is unnecessary and potentially divisive.

There should be no limit on ambition or good ideas that support innovation and prosperity in our coastal communities.
Source: British Ports Association

You may also like...