Freight News, Logistics, Sea

More work needed to unstick port bottlenecks, say MPs

[ November 26, 2013   //   ]

The House of Commons Transport Committee has called on the government to do more to tackle UK ports’ bottlenecks in a report published on 26 November. The BBC website reported that Mps believe that the UK is at a disadvantage to other EU countries and there was inconsistency in who should pay for road improvements.

The report described ports as “national assets” essential to the economic wellbeing of the country and that the Department for Transport should do more to promote their interests within government and internationally”. However, changes to the powers of local government over strategic transport planning since 2010 had made it harder for ports to ensure that important projects got the priority they deserved.

The report cited road congestion on routes to Liverpool, Hull, Heysham and Felixstowe in particular.

Chair of the committee, Labour MP Louise Ellman called on ministers to challenge local authorities that failed to prioritise improvements in port access.

Nor should port operators be expected to “pick up the entire bill” for road improvements around ports where they would deliver wider economic benefits, the report added. There was currently a lack of consistency with some ports meeting the cost of improvements but others not.

The government is already reviewing current guidance – under which port operators and other businesses are expected to pay mitigation costs for any transport improvements which disrupt existing road and rail users.

However, a Department for Transport spokesman was quoted as saying that the government was investing in a range of infrastructure projects to benefit port users.

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