News from the BPA

Ports Programme for Government Focuses on Sustainability and Infrastructure

The next Government must improve the planning system, clarify a range of funding arrangements, and improve the performance of regulators that are holding back economic growth. These are the cross-cutting headline areas  for the next administration identified in the British Ports Association’s “manifesto”, being circulated to candidates this week.

The industry’s priority areas for the next government are:

  • sustainability and net zero
  • surface and energy connectivity
  • the offshore energy transition

The BPA has set out three broad areas where action is needed from the next administration, as well as more specific action over the next Parliament. The three headline areas of action are planning reform, targeted funding for policy priorities, and improving regulatory capacity. The manifesto was published last week and will be circulated to all candidates in coastal constituencies.

Ports are fundamental to the UK’s economy and overall prosperity. Supporting the sector’s competitiveness will be key to solving many of our wider challenges, from the energy transition to the biodiversity crisis.

This programme for the next Government can be implemented by whichever political party takes power on July 5th.

Mark Simmonds, Director of Policy & External Affairs at the British Ports Association

The BPAs Manifesto is available online here and describes what the UK Port industry would like the next government to focus on.

The BPA has set out 14 specific policy proposals are set out below.

First 100 Days

  • Take immediate action to clear the backlog of harbour orders holding back port modernisation and development.
  • Supercharge port electrification and renewable generation with a plan for energy connectivity for ports, regulatory reform, and new funding for high TRL projects through UK SHORE.
  • Unlock billions in private sector investment by announcing the next round of funding to support the offshore energy transition.
  • ​Reverse the Department for Transport’s opposition to second and third generation biofuels for maritime and allow their use specifically to meet the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation for harbour authorities’ marine assets, supporting immediate and significant emissions reductions across the whole sector and the development of a market for sustainable biofuels.

First Year

  • Boost UK ports’ competitiveness by backing the industry’s proposed marine and terrestrial planning reforms and putting a funding plan in place for port and freight connectivity.
  • Develop the Freeports and Investment Zones programmes by expanding the benefits to more ports and regions, and for longer.
  • Fundamental reform of marine licensing that enhances habitats and biodiversity whilst delivering certainty and speed for developers.
  • A BPA-government partnership on offshore wind development and funding to explore how to de-risk and drive development quickly.
  • Commitments to expand trade and improve the flow of goods and people through our international gateways as well as exploring how we take advantage of modal shift opportunities.
  • In partnership with the our fishing ports, develop a long-term plan for ports and harbours based on increasing landings into the UK.
  • Engage with BPA members on the implementation of the UK border strategy and UK single window, putting the facilitation of freight and people at the heart of UK border policy.

Over the Next Parliament

  • Reduce border bureaucracy and boost trade by exploring a comprehensive SPS agreement with the EU.
  • ​Introduce a Harbours Bill to reform harbour orders and introduce a general power of competence for harbour authorities.
  • Establish a mandatory UK-wide registration scheme for recreational vessels and levy to help tackle the scourge of vessels abandoned in UK ports, which present environmental and cost challenges for many harbours.