Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Government Port Development Plans Heavily Criticised

RTPI Slam Westminster Report as " Not Fit for Purpose "
Shipping News Feature

UK – The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) a charity devoted to advancing the art and science of developing town plans to the benefit of the public, and with over 22,000 professional members throughout Europe, have pulled no punches in the criticism of the Governments recently published draft planning policy on ports provision.

In a formal response to the consultation on Novembers National Policy Statement for Ports, designed to outline how to develop new port facilities are decided upon by the new Infrastructure Planning Commission, the RTPI have comprehensively denigrated the report. Matt Thomson, Acting Director Policy & Partnerships at the RTPI said:

“The draft national policy statement on ports is not fit for purpose as it fails to justify the need for building any new ports, or give any guidance on how they should relate to road and rail networks or centres of industry or population.

“Instead it leaves decisions about where ports should be entirely for the market to determine, which offers no security for investors or for local communities that may be affected. Nor does it consider impacts on Britain’s existing ports, improvements to which may be a better option than building an entirely new port.

“There is no identified urgency to provide new ports in the UK, with a number of port developments already under construction. The RTPI therefore urges the Department for Transport to think again about the need for this ports policy, instead of rushing out a half-baked proposal.”

The RTPI is made up of members who serve in government, local government and as advisors in the private sector. Their full response to the consultation can be viewed here.

This is the second time in a month that we have reported on heavy criticism of a Westminster report by a professional body. In January the Rail Freight Group commented on a Transport Paper regarding public procurement and the lessons of rail privatisation which brought a stinging riposte last week from the lead author Baroness Sally Greengross.