UNDERINVESTMENT IN ports and Britain's convoluted planning system are set to be the key issues covered in a review of government transport policy by former British Airways chairman Rod Eddington, MPs heard last week.
Transport secretary Alistair Darling has asked Eddington to look at Britain's transport needs beyond 2015.
Last week, Eddinton outlined his initial thoughts to the Commons transport select committee. He will reveal his findings to Darling and Chancellor Gordon Brown by the middle of next year.
'The current planning regime is too complicated, too long and too uncertain, ' he said.
Eddington was particularly interested in planning as it relates to major schemes such as ports.
Eddington referred to the recent rejection of plans to build a new container port at Dibden Bay near Southampton.
'You sometimes accept that the answer should be 'no', but it should not take four or five years and cost £45M.
'I'm not calling for a reduction in thoroughness and wouldn't want to see local authorities taken out of the process at all.
But it just takes too long and is too expensive.' Eddington described ports as the forgotten piece of transport infrastructure. 'They are absolutely fundamental. Britain will continue to be major importer of goods and materials with 95% coming through its ports. We neglect them at our peril.'