Brexit key focus for BPA in 2018
The British Ports Association (BPA) will continue to engage with Brexit negotiators and seek to influence discussions in 2018.
Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the BPA, also announced intentions to promote planning and freight policy reform, increased transport connectivity investment and a legal change to the ‘definition of a ship’, as he outlined the Association’s key priorities for 2018.
Mr Ballantyne said: “We will continue (to) ensure that as important international gateways, the ports industry features in the Government’s Brexit planning, particularly in relation to any new customs and environmental arrangements.”
He explained that some ports are concerned that bureaucratic border checks could slow down trade following the UK’s departure from the EU Customs Union and Single Market. Therefore, the BPA therefore intend to lobby the UK Government to promote trade facilitation discussions.
The BPA will continue to push for areas around ports to be classified with a special planning and consenting status to help stimulate port development and growth.
It is also encouraging policy makers to ensure that port activity and development are not negatively impacted by onerous consenting conditions and marine protection designations, given that many of the rules in relation to environmental legislation stem from the EU.
The BPA last year called for a new UK freight strategy and will be pressing the Government to prioritise freight transport infrastructure to keep the sector competitive and reduce costs for the freight and logistics industry.
The BPA said it hopes the Department for Transport’s Port Connectivity Study to prioritise port development for funding and added opportunities to discuss development would also be presented at the National Infrastructure Commission’s Freight Assessment and the Scottish National Transport Strategy Review.
Maritime safety will also be prioritised, with an expectation that progress will be made to making legislative updates to overcome the ‘definition of a ship’ legal irregularity, to enable ports to enforce port safety rules against certain leisure craft which are currently not classified as a ‘ship’ under UK law.
Other areas of importance outlined by the BPA include Northern Irish issues in relation to Brexit, new ports ‘Good Governance Guidelines’ in England and Wales, fisheries management and a policy approach to air quality.
The BPA announced it will be developing a new membership development strategy to help grow and develop the Association’s national profile and reach.
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