Port masterplans for coastal growth and policy development

port masterplans for coastal growth
© iStock/Joesboy

A white paper jointly published by the British Ports Association examines the benefits of port masterplans for growth in coastal areas.

The ‘Port masterplanning: planning for the future’ paper, developed by the BPA and marine consultancy ABPmer, was drawn up as part of the two bodies’ Port Futures thought leadership programme. The report explored the process and effects of developing port masterplans, which outline the ways in which ports intent to respond to the economic, social, environmental and technological challenges which are projected to occur in the next few decades; and investigated the potential implications of comprehensive port masterplanning on coastal market growth.

BPA Chief Executive Richard Ballantyne said: “At a time when sub-national and regional bodies are exploring initiatives to drive growth and investment, this report highlights the potential and process through which ports can transmit their aims and aspirations to policy makers. We are also keen that the UK Government updates its Port Masterplanning Guidance for English ports which hasn’t been refreshed for over a decade. This needs reviving and we’d like to encourage some discussion with the devolved administrations as to how masterplanning might be recognised in other parts of the UK.”

The UK’s ports industry directly employs more than 115,000 people and is responsible for handling around 95% of the country’s international trade. The BPA has urged regional and national policymakers to take the content of port masterplans into account when forming policy, citing three significant factors:

  • The creation of port masterplans entails a degree of long term strategising which is not commonly prevalent in devising policy;
  • Long term masterplanning enables port authorities to plan for the optimal use of coastal land; and
  • By making public the goals of port authorities, masterplans may facilitate greater co-ordination between ports and stakeholders.

Tony Brooks, Masterplanning lead at ABPmer, said: “A masterplan outlines how a port intends to respond to change. It begins with what is happening at the port now and why. It then explains what needs to happen in future. By going through the masterplanning process, ports can describe how they can facilitate development and investment whilst building in stakeholder interests. The process can be an invaluable way to transmit what developments and initiatives a port wants to drive forward.”

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