Examination of Witnesses (Questions 140-141)
MS HILARY CHIPPING, MR JIM BOUD, MR MIKE FREEMAN AND MR NICK CHARLESWORTH
WEDNESDAY 24 APRIL 2002
140. Yes, I am aware of that.and ports being so important, to the lifeblood of our commerce basically, therefore access to them being equally important . . . I am just trying to get a little clearer whether, when you are considering your forward plans, because by definition doing things like this takes a number of years to say the least, you actually consult with the port owners and authorities, you actually consult with the people who use the infrastructure so that you can get a better idea of where if necessary to concentrate what are still scarce resources to the better advantage of perhaps a smaller number of ports rather than the whole. Is that the case?
(Ms Chipping) We have set in place a relatively new structure, but hopefully an improved one. The whole of this regional planning framework is still in planning terms in its infancy and establishing itself. Over the last year the Highways Agency's regional structure, where we have teams of people who have specifically made a point of going out and talking to the regional playersand I am sorry if we have not involved the Road Haulage Association as much as they would have liked and we shall certainly try to address that, but our purpose is to involve all of the regional stakeholders so that we are aware of future developmentscan explain the situation in terms of the capacity of the existing trunk road network, can explain where local authorities come into the picture and hopefully can help those developments which are considered to be regional and national priorities.
141. Have the Department done an assessment of the effect of this Directive on the number of ports, the access to ports, the five- and ten-year projections of what would happen if this Directive were applied?
(Ms Chipping) That would not be for the Highways Agency, I am afraid. I am not aware. I am sure those with responsibility for ports policy will have looked at the effects [of the Directive].
Chairman: Thank you very much. You have all been very helpful.