PORT ENGINEERS have reacted coolly to a government consultation proposing radical changes to planning guidelines for port developments.
An ICE Maritime Board/International Navigation Association (PIANC) meeting was told the plans could make port developments more difficult and drive away operators to European ports.
Sharp criticism was levelled at plans to force port developers to make public commercial reasons to justify new schemes.
Others complained about plans to force promoters of port development in environmentally sensitive areas to provide alternatives - which could mean drawing up plans at competing ports.
ICE maritime board chairman Greg Haigh said: 'It was clear that some were concerned at the adoption of a public sector methodology to a largely private sector industry.'