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.