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21.02.2002

Call for constructive dialogue on port development

Calling for a “constructive dialogue between the ports industry, Government and the conservation agencies”, PLA Chief Executive Steve Cuthbert has emphasised the need for the expansion of UK container and ro-ro capacity in the national interest.

Speaking at the ‘Modern Ports’ conference in London organised by the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions, Mr Cuthbert called for a “fundamental review of the marine consents procedure”. He backed calls for a “streamlining of the regulatory consents process without diluting the associated environmental standards.”

“The present regime is too complex – with a whole series of UK and EU laws and regulations, which are often inconsistent in their requirements, processes and procedures and extremely expensive to comply with, particularly at an early stage of a major project.

“Sustainable development must mean what it says. We have to have a balance between nature conservation, and the country’s need for an efficient port system to sustain trade and the living standards of the British people.”

“If the Government is going to maintain the balance between society’s economic, social and environmental needs, then there needs to be wide recognition that it is in estuarial ports that the potential for conflict between nature conservation and economic necessity is most acute.  Government needs to ensure that all three sets of needs are accorded equal consideration and that an equitable balance is maintained between them at all key stages of the process.