Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240 - 242)



  240. Let me bring you back to my point about Barcelona. It was very clear to the Committee that one reason a city the size of Barcelona was able to keep re-inventing itself, why it has one of the highest GDPs, why it has very good employment rates, is because the amount of money put into the port—and I am not talking about roads and rail, though those were in addition—was largely coming from both regional and central government. Are you really saying to us that one of the problems British ports face, particularly major British ports, is that so many of them are owned privately and the amount of investment has not been going in which is needed for renewal and for modernisation to maintain the high standard?
  (Mr Graveson) With all respect to you, you have actually answered the question you posed earlier. They are getting the support from regional and national government, are they not, and we are not in this country?

  241. That is very helpful. Is the new document a sufficient response to the challenges which are facing the port industry?
  (Mr Graveson) Yes, it is a sufficient response, but it really does need resources. Like all of these things, without adequate resources, the document in itself will not solve the problem.

Miss McIntosh

  242. Do the witnesses have a view on whether the document considers sufficiently the role of short sea or coastal shipping and the potential to expand that within this country?
  (Mr Linington) We have always felt that there is a big contrast between Britain, where we have been quite laggardly in developing policies to expand the use of short sea shipping—and one of the thrusts we have tried to put forward in our evidence is that there needs to be much more innovation in the form perhaps of looking towards more fine-tuning of the freight facilities grant, other measures to improve inter-modal flow of freight—and the general flow of European policy. We felt generally that the port infrastructure has not been geared to benefit from the way that policy is developing.

  Chairman: You have been very helpful. I am very grateful to you. It may be that you might like to go away and think about anything else you would like to let us know quite quickly. Heaven forfend that I should in any way encourage you. Thank you very much indeed.

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