Government failing to support Welsh ports, say MPs
01 February 2010
The Welsh Affairs Committee expressed disappointment today in the response from the Department for Transport to the Committee’s report on ports in Wales.
The Committee’s inquiry found clear evidence that the needs of Welsh ports differ significantly from those in England. Crucially, most Welsh ports have spare capacity, in stark contrast to those in England.
The department’s response fails to address this point and says that there is "no justification for developing a different policy for Welsh ports". The Committee also uncovered persuasive evidence of the need for targeted investment in Welsh ports to seize on the huge growth in the leisure cruise market, but the Department for Transport says it will not intervene.
Other areas of concern include;
- Contradictory assertions by the department about its relationship with the Welsh Assembly Government, stating that the relationship is working well but offering scant evidence of proactive engagement with Wales
- A lack of representation from the department on the Wales Ports Group
- References by the department to the Infrastructure Planning Commission, despite it playing a limited role in determining planning permissions for Wales
The Chairman of the Committee, Dr Hywel Francis, said: "We are convinced that a joined-up approach to ports will be needed in order to help the sector thrive in future. All parties, including the Department for Transport and the Welsh Assembly Government, must be committed to joint working if an effective approach is to be taken to the Welsh economy.
"The department runs the risk of appearing to treat ports policy in Wales as an afterthought. We have yet to be convinced that due consideration is being given to the unique needs of Welsh ports when policy development is formulated and of the potential opportunities for economies in and around Wales."
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