In response to the publication of the National Assembly for Wales – Learning and Business Committee enquiry into – (International connectivity through Welsh ports and airports); FTA welcomes the findings of the Business and Learning Committee which it feels was consistent with the evidence provided by the Association.
The FTA which gave both verbal and written evidence reiterates that progress which it feels has a strategically national importance should not be governed by local politics alone.
Within the findings of the report of the Enquiry it said that ‘it seeks to influence the UK Government’s forthcoming aviation framework so that it both recognises the potential of Cardiff Airport’, and will formulate a clear, strategic, evidence-based position for developing air transport in Wales. It would also continue to explore the case for devolving Air Passenger Duty to Wales, and publish a revised Wales Freight Strategy, which has a greater emphasis on rail freight, by the end of 2012, and negotiate the needs of rail freight in Wales.
FTA feels that when making decisions about ports and airport, it should be recognised that by their very nature they have a nationally strategic value; therefore a mechanism needs to be introduced to ensue local politics override the growth of welsh economy.
The FTA all believes that the Wales Freight Strategy should be revised, however it should not be limited to rail all modal aspects should be looked at backed up with a commitment to carry forward the recommendations contained in the strategy, and that the Wales Freight Group should be part of this process.
Ian Gallagher, FTA Policy Manager for Wales states: "We should welcome the emphasis on cooperation between Government’s contained in the response, however we should not underestimate the value of ports which are of a national importance, providing jobs locally and providing a gateway for exports of Welsh Goods.
Gallagher continued: "We should however remember that the Wales Freight Strategy (published in 2008), does indeed recognise this fact but has seemingly been ignored , FTA agrees that It should be revised but lets look at all modes and ensure that there is a commitment on behalf of government to deliver this time."