Select Committee on European Union Fortieth Report


INLAND WATERWAY TRANSPORT (5583/06)

Letter from the Chairman to Stephen Ladyman MP, Minister of State for Transport, Department for Transport

  Thank you for your Explanatory Memorandum on this document which Sub-Committee B considered at its meeting on 27 February 2005.

  We are maintaining the scrutiny reserve at this stage. We would be grateful for an indication from you of the time-scale for the Government's consultation on this document. Sub-Committee B will review the scrutiny status of this document once the results of this consultation process are known.

1 March 2006

Letter from Stephen Ladyman MP to the Chairman

  Thank you for your letter of 1 March, in which you asked for an indication of the time-scale for the Government's consultation on this document.

  As this is a non-legislative document the Government has decided to hold an informal consultation exercise on this document, in which we are particularly interested in hearing from the key stakeholders. The informal period of consultation took place between 6 and 28 February. However, I am particularly keen to hear from some key stakeholders who represent the Inland Waterway industry, who will be providing their view but are yet to do so. Once the remaining stakeholders respond I will be able to provide you with a further update in March or April.

10 March 2006

Letter from the Chairman to Stephen Ladyman MP

  Thank you for your letter of 10 March 2006 which Sub-Committee B considered at its meeting on 27 March 2006.

  We will await your update of the final outcome of the Government's stakeholder consultation and continue to maintain the scrutiny reserve at this stage.

29 March 2006

Letter from Stephen Ladyman MP to the Chairman

  Further to my letter of 10 March and your letter of 29 March, I am writing to update you on the Government's informal consultation of stakeholders on the above Commission documents.

  We received two brief responses to the informal consultation. Generally, the stakeholders welcomed the Commission's Communication and the associated working document.

  One industry association recognised that the possible application of the Commission's Action Programme to the UK would be less than that of other EU Member States where the scope for developing inland waterway traffic is not so limited. Their main interest was confined to the extent to which any new initiative might open up new possibilities for the movement of unitised cargo (containers and roll-on, roll-off); in particular, that competition for land-use in the UK from residential and retail development might stifle future freight terminal development and inland waterborne transport innovation.

  Sea and Water, which represents the inland waterways sector, felt that the Commission's NAIADES initiative would enable better exploitation of inland waterways transport and should be implemented in all EU member states. In response to such EU initiatives, Sea and Water has recently published its "Case for Water" setting out opportunities for the freight transport sector of using inland waterways.

  As stated in EM 5583/06, the Austrian Presidency hopes to achieve agreement on Council Conclusions welcoming the approach presented in the Communication at the June Transport Council on 7-8 June.

9 May 2006

Letter from the Chairman to Stephen Ladyman MP

  Thank you for your letter of 9 May, which Sub-Committee B considered at its meeting on 22 May.

  We were grateful to you for your summary of responses received during the Government's informal consultation, which appear to be supportive. We are content to lift scrutiny on this document at this stage, and would be grateful to you for a further update following the June Transport Council.

23 May 2006

Letter from Stephen Ladyman MP to the Chairman

  Further to your letter of 23 May, I am writing to update you on the outcome of the Transport Council discussion on the above Commission documents.

  After a short debate, the Transport Council agreed Conclusions on the Commission's Communication. The Conclusions welcome and agree to the action programme to promote Inland Waterways transport and comment on the detailed proposals in the recommendations contained within it. A copy of an extract from the Council Press Notice, which contains the Conclusions, is annexed to this letter.

  Although the Communication only has limited relevance to the United Kingdom because our inland waterways are not connected to those on the continent, the Government recognises the potential of Europe's inland waterways to help reduce traffic congestion and harmful effects on the environment as a whole. We welcome therefore, the Communication and Action Programme as a way to promote the use of inland waterways to transport more freight where this makes sense.

5 July 2006

Letter from the Chairman to Stephen Ladyman MP

  Thank you for your letter of 5 July, replying to my letter of 23 May. Sub-Committee B considered your letter at its meeting on 17 July.

  We were grateful to you for your report on the outcome of discussions on the two documents in the June Transport Council. We trust that you will update us further if there are any developments to these proposals.

19 July 2006



 
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