UK stakeholders, industry and Government should take a strong lead in securing more EU transport funding for the UK by:
- Finding out what opportunities there are earlier.
- Rather than just apply for funds, we should influence policy process that creates the funds, using UK experience.
- Connecting localities, communities and stakeholders to develop coalitions in order to better access EU regional funding for transport.
- The new EU transport White Paper should be a priority for the UK, and we should lead in a positive way the reaction to it to help deliver our funding objectives.
A specific EU transport fund should be carved out of the EU budget, focused on ‘smart’ cities, carbon reduction and competitiveness, and thereby make better use of limited resources.
To support our funding priorities there should be wide dissemination of past EU expenditure and success of EU programmes in UK. In R&D funding there should be more focus on measurable outputs, via practical demonstration projects, which have a catalytic effect. To make investments smarter there should be more focus on making better use of existing infrastructure.
- UKREP were thought to be useful but earlier notification of proposals would be of use to industry.
- It was thought that the UK domestic agenda often impinged on our ability to secure our wider European objectives.
- The fact that often there is intra-sectoral disagreement on specific proposals was highlighted.
- Inter modal comparison of costs was often not taken into account e.g. fixed costs between modes was often not fairly compared. Therefore there needed to be greater transparency of costings between modes.
- On technology there needed to be greater clarification of the definition of technology.
- The greatest challenge was an EU wide approach to transport taxation.
- The majority were in favour of maximising greater subsidiarity, but there were opposing views expressed in the plenary.
The Legislative Framework
There were some suggestions for things Government could do better, and some thoughts about what the UK transport industry could do:
The industry sought more engagement with HMG, and DfT in particular, at various levels. On the rail side the RPF was seen as good in as far as it went, but not effective enough. The main problem was that it did not address issues early enough in the process. It was good to be able to respond to Government consultations, but if the consensus was already emerging in the EU before the consultation finished then there was not much point. Various ideas were floated:
- Regular briefings, possibly in Brussels, that gave the context for Commission thinking and provided intelligence on likely future initiatives. These could be aimed at the industry as a whole.
- More dossier-focused briefings.
- Government needed to join up better, both within and across departments, to engage with and pick up concerns from industry
- The focus needed to be on EARLY action.
As for what industry could do, there was recognition of the need to give vocal support to the Commission when it was doing the right thing, rather than just highlight the problems. This message about support for the Commission could also be relayed to Government, at political and senior official level, given that it was often the problems rather than the successes that appeared on their radar. Such support for the Commission, which could also cover enforcement, would set a more productive context for engaging on difficulties.
There was some discussion about what, in the future, might be the area with the most regulatory challenge and reducing the carbon impacts of transport was highlighted. If we had a significant request, perhaps it could be to press for comprehensive pricing of externalities across all (surface) transport modes. (Aviation has the ETS.)
1. Organisations present included DfT, UKREP, CAA, National Air Traffic Services (NATS), British Airways, Deutsche Lufthansa, Arriva Trains, Association of Train Operating Companies, Freightliner Ltd, British Business and General Aviation Association, Manchester Airport Group, JP Knight Group Ltd, Transport for London, Hutchinson Europe, Kapsch TrafficCom, Confederation of Passenger Transport, Greener Journeys, British Chamber of Shipping, and the Freight Transport Association.
2. The views expressed were the collective views of UKTiE and do not necessarily represent the individual views of all stakeholders present.
3. UKTiE Membership is open to UK transport stakeholders (UK based but not necessarily UK owned).