Supplementary written evidence submitted by the
British Ports Association (MAR0031)
I was grateful for the opportunity to give evidence to the Committee on the Maritime 2050 strategy in May. With apologies for the lateness, I wanted to provide some additional information on several areas that were discussed during the oral evidence sessions.
Several witnesses discussed the provision of shore power at UK ports. In 2020 a BPA report identified three primary barriers to the provision of shore power to vessels:
The Government recently consulted on shore power and reducing emissions from ship at berth. Our view is that whilst it is likely that shore power will play a significant role in reducing emissions at berth, it should be viewed as a means and not an ends. The Government should start by being clearer about what they are trying to achieve (and when) and not dictate what technology is needed to achieve that. Most ports in the UK are already power constrained and it is difficult for them to plan upgrades with significant uncertainty around how much power may be needed in future. In June we called for an energy connectivity study for UK ports alongside a transformational long-term funding programme to ensure that ports have the energy they need to meet their decarbonisation and air quality ambitions.
We listened with interest to evidence around the timescales for marine licensing and consenting. We recently undertook a survey of our members on their experiences with the marine licensing system. A copy of the anonymised results are attached. These cover devolved marine licensing bodies as well as the Marine Management Organisation (MMO): Marine Scotland, Natural Resource Wales, and DAERA in Northern Ireland.
BPA members have raised long delays in licensing with us and we understand the MMO has taken steps to reduce a backlog. Our view is that the marine licensing bodies play a critical role in enabling marine development and are under-resourced by Government.
We are concerned that as Government comes under pressure to ensure ambitious targets for offshore wind are delivered (by industry), that marine planning, licensing and consenting will increasingly see resources diverted into this area. More broadly we are concerned that the offshore energy sector will increasingly drive policy change in the marine space despite their needs and available resources being different from other users such as ports.
Increasing the amount of freight moved by water is a long-term goal for the BPA. Shipping is by far the most carbon-efficient mode of transport for moving freight and it can also play a role in easy congestion on the road network and alleviating the driver shortage by reducing the number of road freight miles.
Our members tell us that a small coastal bulk carrier takes 125 trucks off the road and a typical small coastal tanker or aggregate carrier take around 220 lorries off the road.
As no part of the UK is more than around 70 miles from the coast, with most of the population much closer, and with a large number of commercial ports, more coastal shipping makes sense for the UK. To support this we are keen to see the UK Government follow up on its 2018 port connectivity study with a funding programme for last mile connections in England and similar work in the rest of the UK. A closer look at government funding for support modal shift would also be welcome to improve the current schemes.