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


  1.  I attended the first public meeting of the Committee when it heard oral evidence from witnesses involved in the freight use of waterways.

  2.  Comment was made about the value of the alternative use (eg residential) of a wharf, in particular, the implication that a wharf had a greater value for residential purposes than for industrial use.

  3.  On the basis of land values only, every industrial site would be closed down and turned over to residential use. In order to avoid this, we have, over the last 50 years, had a planning permission system. It is therefore up to local authority planners, following central government guidance, to ensure that land is used for the right purpose.

  4.  I suggest that where a waterside site is being used for an industrial purpose enabling it to bring in goods send them out by water or is used as a wharf, then there should be presumption in favour of that use continuing. It does not make environmental sense for the industrial activity/wharf to be closed down and the activity relocated somewhere else where it can only be served by road.

  5.  Accordingly, I suggest the Committee should give consideration to recommending that existing wharves should be retained as such; and that industrial activity taking place alongside waterways should be encouraged to remain there. This ought to be built into planning policy guidelines issued by the Government.

November 2000

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