Investing in connectivity & infrastructure
The UK must invest in the infrastructure projects that will keep us competitive, benefit all industries, help business create more jobs, and deliver growth.
A key result of leaving the European Union will be that the UK has resolved to increase its volume of global trade.
Given that, as an island nation, Britain transports 95% of its imports and exports by sea, it is vital that our ports have better connectivity with major industrial and distribution hubs in the heart of the country.
Many road and rail connections to ports are in need of upgrading and in view of the importance of the export supply chain; port connectivity should be placed on a par with other major transport infrastructure projects including HS2, CrossRail and London airport expansion.
Land available at ports next to deep water, and with excellent road and rail connections, is a major asset capable of attracting fresh investment in new manufacturing; this, in turn, can help to drive exports and growth and re-balance the economy.
Ports provide vital hubs of economic activity and employment, both regionally and nationally and often in deprived arrears. To help ports develop and grow, there should be a greater recognition of their importance in the planning system. In particular, port and marine activities should be safeguarded against the impact of environmental conditions and designations with mechanisms to fast-track development consents.
In addition, economic benefits to the UK economy can come from looking beyond the country’s land mass and including the whole of our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The adoption of a seabed mapping programme (an ordinance survey map of the seabed) would make better quality data available to meet the economic and environmental needs of the country, leading to new opportunities to share data and achieve innovative ways of mapping data in the future. The programme would support and develop the UK’s leading role in maritime autonomy, as these pioneering and innovative UK vessels would be suited to gathering the data. The government should view this programme as an essential investment into the public knowledge infrastructure of our island nation.