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Houses of Parliament


A 'Guiding Mind' For Rail

The All-Party Parliamentary Rail Group has supported suggestions that there should be a new ‘guiding mind' for the railway, which would take over many of the functions carried out by the Department for Transport, such as awarding franchises and managing their performance in a report delivered to the Rail Minister and the Williams Review team.

Martin Vickers MP: “While some may say we've been here before, it is important that any structural change not only focuses on aligning sometimes competing priorities, but also maintains the industry's primary role – serving its customers.

"If the pitfalls we've identified are avoided, the case for a new arm's length body is strong. I commend our report to Keith Williams and his team, ahead of the Government releasing its rail white paper.”

The Group was aided by transport specialists Burges Salmon LLP and T&I Communications.

Read the full report.

Trade Coalition Pushes for Reform

Port Zones UK

Port Zones UK is a new coalition of British airport and seaport operators, whose aim is to promote regional growth centred on key UK transport hubs, through the designation of enhanced 'Enterprise, Development and Free Trade Zones'.

The Freeports Minister joined representatives from Eversheds Sutherland LLP, Rigby Group, Valero, HM Treasury and the Department for International Trade to launch a report.

T&I Director, John Stevenson: "Our report captures the essence of what a contemporary UK freeport should look like. We welcome the positive response from the Freeports Advisory Panel to our input."

Read the full report.

High Level, Early Engagement

Boris Johnson visits Port of Dover
Sajid David and Priti Patel visit Forth Ports

Boosting Post-Brexit Free Trade

The Government announced that new freeports will be created, with the aim of boosting the national economy post-Brexit.

They could include liberalised planning laws, combined with enterprise zone-style fiscal measures, too.

A new Freeports Advisory Panel will advise the Government on the form of up to 10 freeports, including T&I clients, Milford Haven and the Port of Tyne.

Planning secured for UK port

Planning secured for UK port

After three years of working up the DCO, Forth Ports Group received development consent for a new port on the Thames on 20 February.

When operational in spring 2020, Tilbury2 will be the UK's largest unaccompanied ferry port and the country's biggest construction processing hub, with AEO-trusted trader status.

Rail strategy receives national recognition

London's major port scooped the Rail Freight and Logistics Excellence accolade at the 21st Rail Business Awards.

Tilbury was shortlisted for its “Reinvigorated rail freight” offering - from strategy development, capital investment to results.

Hat-trick of rail majors

From Andrew Haines' first public Q&A, Mark Thurston's refreshing take on HS2 to the new Rail Minister's inaugural cross-party public engagement.

T&I highlights - Conservative conference 2018

  • Brexit: the PM: "The only proposal on the table at the moment that delivers... is the Chequers plan. But what I've said to the EU is... 'If you have counter-proposals, come forward with those..." The UK's willingness to compromise is "not without limits". The DUP dismissed talk of regulatory checks taking place in the Irish Sea
  • No deal: Raab spoke about reducing corporation tax to 10%, Javid said that a no deal Brexit would allow for £40bn of tax cuts, while business organisations spoke about the need to encourage investment in people, facilities and R&D
  • Channel ports: Dover claimed that the economy would take a £2.5bn supply chain hit if 20% of its 2.6m freight units transferred to other UK entry points. Rt Hon David Davis MP said that DExEU had considered this scale of displacement in the Government's no deal planning. A point repeated by the transport secretary
  • Free ports: the mayor of Tees Valley and ABP made the case. The former will be presenting three reports to the Government to add ballast to the case for designation
  • Immigration: replacing freedom of movement of people within the EU Single Market, with a system based on people's skills and limitations on low-skilled numbers
  • Apprenticeship Levy: allowing large employers to transfer up to 25% of their levy funds to businesses in their supply chain from April 2019
  • Housing: the cap on how much local councils can borrow against their Housing Revenue Account assets to fund new developments is to be removed in England
  • Environment Bill: to contain legally binding targets and measures to address climate change
  • Fuel Duty: frozen for a ninth year
  • Rail: the Williams Review will form the basis of a rail white paper in 2019.

T&I highlights - Labour conference 2018

  • Brexit: commitment to the party's six tests which could lead the party voting against the Implementation and Withdrawal Bill. Ruling out the EU's proposed Irish backstop and supporting a second referendum with "all options... on the table"
  • Renationalisation: of the Royal Mail, water, parts of the energy sector and passenger rail companies
  • Rail reform: a commitment to seven year control periods, a 30-year investment horizon and passenger services delivered by a "public service provider"
  • "Surface access to ports strategy": a renewed commitment to enhance connectivity to ports and to alleviate strategic rail network pinch-points
  • Free ports: echoing the frontbench transport team, RMT delivered a robust dismissal of the concept
  • Emissions: backed calls for the UK to introduce a target to build a net zero emission economy by 2050
  • 400,000 green jobs: spending £12.8bn on home insulation and generating 60% of energy from low carbon or renewable sources by 2030, including a "seven-fold" increase in offshore wind and support for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon
  • Planning Commission launch: a "root and branch rethink" of the English planning system rooted in localism. To report back in autumn 2019
  • Corporate governance: large companies having at least one third of board representatives reserved for employees, an equity stake of 10% for employees within a decade and employees' dividends on those shares capped at £500 per year.

EU-UK talks: no fudge, just Irish stew

An impasse over Ireland and the EU-UK's future trading relationship.

What form of words will be struck to secure a viable withdrawal agreement? Read our report.

Brexit and Transport

Britain's exit from the European Union is the biggest public policy challenge in a lifetime.

UK ports and air industries are in the front line as they prepare for changes at the frontier. They must also be ready to capture new trade flows and other business opportunities.

T&I is providing advocacy, counsel and media relations across the devolved administrations, the EU, government departments and Parliament.

See some of our work to date: aerospace challenges | new terminal | "Brexit Dividend" | Brussels advocacy | Free Trade Zones

Trade and Transition

EU negotiations always come down to the eleventh hour, the agreements are invariably a fudge, but what can the Government negotiate around the margins of a "Canada+-style" free trade agreement.

‘Brexit means Brexit’

'Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?', was the question on the referendum ballot paper. All statements from the May administration indicate that the Government will observe the outcome of the vote. The UK is leaving the EU, but what does that mean?

Click here to view a summary note from the T&I team about the Government's position on the EU single market, customs union and the Brexit negotiations.

Brexit: Short-Term Uncertainty, Long-Term Opportunity

What does the future hold for UK plc, transport infrastructure investment and the British maritime cluster in a post Brexit world?

The message from a seminar in Parliament organised by T&I was that, in the short-term, consumer and investor confidence would suffer from a chilling effect, but, once the UK's recasting of it's relationship with the European Union had concluded, then - parameters permitting - Britain would benefit.

This business confidence was articulated by Guy Platten, CEO of the UK Chamber of Shipping - a body of brokers, financiers and shipping companies - and well received by the cross-party group of parliamentarians and print media in attendance.

While greater international trading access is beneficial, maintaining the UK's premier league status needs unfettered access to highly skilled individuals from across the globe, a competitive regulatory and fiscal system, and an industrial strategy that promotes business growth areas, while seeking to deliver a pipeline of nationally strategic transport infrastructure investment to drive up productivity.

T&I Joins Infrastructure Debate

Industry comment in City A.M. as debate rages around the value-for-money of HS2 as the London-Birmingham hybrid bill moves to the Lords for the second round of parliamentary scrutiny.

'Large infrastructure projects are expensive, contentious and shaped by diverse interests, but the case for investment in transport projects like HS2 is critical for the UK's continued prosperity.

If Britain is to be a nation of builders, doers or makers, we need high quality bits of kit.

A key ingredient for driving up national productivity is a pipeline of major projects, from delivering HS2 and 'HS3', expanding Heathrow and City Airport, to progressing Crossrail 2 and the Lower Thames Crossing.

The ability of city regions to extract maximum regeneration value from HS2 is crucial.

Rather than questioning the specification or concessions of HS2, the public interest should focus on ensuring that the stations are high quality transport interchanges and use this major public investment as a catalyst for urban renewal.

A failure to invest in infrastructure improvements now is only likely to lead to more expensive retrofitting later.'

Does Junker Have The Dice?

With Jean Claude Junker poised to make an intervention in the final days before the EU referendum, will he echo previous points about the potential economic, political and social turmoil of Brexit or concede a measure of significance to sway the waverers and soft leave voters?

If an intervention comes, it needs to be executed with precision. With telephone and online polls showing a consolidated shift towards leave (range: +7 to -2), "don't do an Obama" is surely the remain message to Brussels.

People understand the significance of the vote, but conventional broadcast, print and social media channels are not cutting through in some areas and with some groups.

Are we witnessing an asymmetric battle: weight of resource v superior, professional campaigners? Has middle class socialism got out of step with working class values? Is this a protest vote against the excesses of globalisation and corporatism? Have the political class under estimated the feeling of alienation in society, recently expressed in the riots in the Coalition government years? Have the previous eurosceptic views of the two main party leaders undermined the strength of the campaign to remain?

The truth is probably that there is no killer argument from either side.

The previous Cameron, et al, playbook of apocalyptic referendum campaigning is undermining the validity of the positive message about the strengths of the EU, while the non legally binding settlement the prime minister secured significantly undermines his hand.

Freight Capital

Tackling air emissions and improving cycle safety are central issues in the fight to be the next Mayor of London.

Although the delivery of goods and the movement of construction materials in-and-out of the Capital have largely been side issues during the last decade, it seems that the next four years will see a sharper focus on freight.

Zac's commitment to amend the London Plan to insist on a 'River and Rail' first policy, Sadiq's pledge to deliver an increase in the use of the river for passengers and freight and Caroline's push for more projects to utilise construction consolidation all point to the same thing.

London's governance is ready to challenge management contractors and civil engineering companies to bear down on their supply chains in order to further reduce the number of lorries on our roads.

International Shipping Community Welcome Reduction in Lighthouse Tax

Global shipping lines calling at UK ports welcomed the Government announcement that light dues will lower by a further penny, to 38p per net registered tonne, on 1 April 2016.

Lars Axelsson, Chairman of the Independent Light Dues Forum (ILDF), congratulated the Government on consistently doing its best to lower the burden of lights dues on the international shipping community over recent years: "It's great to see a business-minded Government deliver tangible improvements to the logistics costs of doing business in the UK. This positive news significantly strengthens the international trade environment in Britain."

ILDF members include APL (UK), Maersk, NYK Line (Europe) Ltd, NYK Line Ltd and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics.

The UK government ministerial statement.

Campaign Scoops National Recognition

Campaign scoops national recognition
Credit: Chris Townsend

T&I's John Stevenson constructed and managed a community-based environmental campaign to advocate for greater safeguarding for the Monadhliath Mountains - an area neighbouring the internationally acclaimed Cairngorms National Park.

The Save Monadhliath Mountains campaign achieved national recognition in the environment category of the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland awards, alongside overturning both the Highland Council's recommendation not to object to a 31-turbine wind farm proposal and the subsequent reporter's recommendation to grant consent for the scheme following an extended public inquiry.

The project utilised blogs and social media, developed simple branding, a website, illustrations, an e-petition and enlisted nationally recognised figures like broadcaster Cameron McNeish, photographer Colin Prior and journalist Chris Townsend as advocates, put in place a full press office function and organised public demonstrations, lobbied councillors, MSPs, special advisers and ministers.

John managed all the political and stakeholder communications during the public inquiry and up until a determination was made by the Scottish Government to refuse permission for the development on 30 July 2015.

Visit the Twitter account to see the decision letter and the extensive broadcast and print campaign coverage.

Head of United Nations Agency addresses Parliament

Head of United Nations Agency addresses Parliament

The T&I team was honoured to organise a seminar for a delegation of 13 parliamentarians with Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), 13 October 2015.

The IMO is a London-based United Nations agency charged with improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from the global shipping fleet.

T&I Secures Copywriting Commission

Regulatory communications and copywriting for a public trust
The T&I team was commissioned by Dover Harbour Board to compose and deliver the port's 2014 annual review and corporate social responsibility report.

"John delivered a high quality product in a time constrained window, while keeping to our Board's brief. His transport and infrastructure policy and industry knowledge made the whole process so much easier - delivering an authoritative style and tone that is consistent with our organisation," commented Richard Christian, Head of Communications, Port of Dover.

From delivering corporate reports to stakeholder newsletters, the T&I team know that factual accuracy and attention to detail are paramount, as is the ability to distil and nuance sensitive and complex issues and information.

T&I Client Receives International CSR Recognition

T&I Client Receives International CSR Recognition
Integrated corporate affairs and business strategies

The Port of Tilbury - the largest port in the Forth Ports group - was highly commended at the 2015 Containerisation International awards in the corporate social responsibility (CSR) category.

The latest award recognises the port's long-standing efforts to promote skills training and create the East of England Training Academy, and builds upon this year's Herbert Crow award from the Worshipful Company of Carmen.

The port beat off competition from global shipping lines CMA CGM Group, Maersk Line and MOL and ports including DP World UAE Region and Halifax Port Authority for this prestigious accolade.

Perry Glading, Chief Operating Officer at Forth Ports, welcomed the news: "The port has a strong CSR pedigree: investing heavily in its workforce, supporting our tenants and the local community as part of an integrated corporate affairs and business strategy."

Rise of the Journalist?

If 7th May was about the Labour Party getting squeezed by two nationalisms and the pollsters under-estimating the strength of the Conservatives' post-TV debate election platform, the political appointments to the No 10 and No 11 support teams have been about message discipline.

Over the last three weeks, we have witnessed the rise of the journalist with the appointment of Camilla Cavendish to Head of the No 10 Policy Unit and James Chapman to head up the print media side of George Osborne's operation, and the promotion of Craig Oliver to Political and Communications Director in No 10 (assuming a political implementation role from Ed Llewellyn, the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, as he switches his energy's to EU negotiation and the PM's European tour).

Lynton Crosby's focus on message discipline appears to have had a lasting effect on the Conservative Party machine post general election.

In spite of the present trend in appointments, Whitehall is not awash with former transport correspondents plying their trade as special advisers. Perhaps the pool is too diminished?

Only a handful of national newspapers - broadsheet and red top - now retain a transport specialist. A consumer focus and an across-the-piste reduction in editorial headcount has hit titles like the Telegraph and Independent.

The FT has moved to a more infrastructure focused set up. Although the transport chatterati "longs" for closer integration with other related policy disciplines, judging by recent conversations, this rationalisation at Southwark Bridge is not welcome. Goodness knows how the creation of a Department for Infrastructure would go down?

T&I Clients Secure National Awards

T&I Clients Secure National Awards
Rt Hon George Osborne MP opening the East of England Training Academy

The T&I team is proud to support the corporate affairs agendas of organisations at the forefront of their industry.

In recent months, the Port of Tyne has built upon their strong regional business credentials and reputation as one of the most dynamic major trust ports by securing the inaugural "Port of the Year" accolade at the Transport Times awards.

While the Port of Tilbury saw off stiff competition to achieve recognition - alongside Mercedes F1, Drayson Racing and Tesla - for their efforts to promote skills training by establishing the East of England Training Academy to secure the national Herbert Crow award from the Worshipful Company of Carmen at Mansion House.

Shipping Lines Secure 2015/16 Tax Reduction

Shipping Lines secure 2015/16 tax reduction
Shipping Lines
Tax Reduction
"The team is heartened to deliver another positive result for our clients, especially as this one goes straight to the bottom line," commented John Stevenson on the latest T&I campaign success.

  • 2.5% reduction per port call for a car carrier calling at Southampton, Bristol or Tilbury
  • Asia-Europe trade lane container vessels in excess of 40,000 NT will save up to £20,000 per annum

Lars Axelsson, Chairman of the Independent Light Dues Forum, congratulated the Government on consistently doing its best to lower the burden of lights dues on the international shipping community over recent years: "We know that this charge is a burden not faced in many other countries, but we see for the first time, for literally over one hundred years, the prospect of a really large decline in the charge once the pension liabilities have been extinguished in 10 years' time."

Click here and here.

"Pro-" or "Anti-Car"?

A rising number of adults - principally in the inner cities - are predicted to shun car ownership in favour of club-style rental deals and greater use of taxis in the decades ahead.

The T&I team secured strong national and regional broadcast and print media coverage for an interesting report by the Independent Transport Commission giving a number of reasons for believing that per capita car ownership and use will stabilise or fall in many British cities, while continuing to rise elsewhere.

It's not just congestion, but also convenience that will change patterns of car ownership over the next 50 years.

Click here and here to read The Times coverage.

Department for Infrastructure - A step too far?

The T&I team attended the launch of a co-sponsored paper by Stephen Hammond MP and ACE proposing a Department for Infrastructure (DfI).

Former rail and maritime minister, Hammond, suggested that DfI would deal with the formulation of national need, conceptualise how it would be delivered and then tend to the Government-side of the delivery of projects.

Similar to the drivers of Sir John Armitt's proposal for a National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), DfI would seek to eliminate the stop-start nature of UK strategic infrastructure policy thinking and financing (he cited DfT economists who had estimated that Highways England's new five year funding settlement would unlock 12-13% supply chain efficiency). In a similar vein, the proposal supports the concept of 10-year sector plans.

Although broadly attractive, I fear the politics and institutional inertia of the civil service will struggle to support the DfI. The idea of releasing savings by merging four Government departments sounds plausible, perhaps unpalatable. A drive to professionalise Government procurement also sounds appealing, but with a tight political situation and the likely need to use Cabinet-seat-patronage in the next Parliament, it is probable that the 2015 intake will not warm to a smaller ministerial roster.

Cyber security threats loom large across transport industry

The ubiquity of IT and 'cyber' systems means that many aspects of personal and commercial life are enabled by it. Reliance on IT systems for e-commerce and on-line banking has created a new domain for criminality; e-crime.

The security risks that arise from the commercial use of IT and cyber systems stems from both the theft of sensitive information, as well as the ability of criminals to interfere with systems that are managed and monitored via these systems. The challenge posed by this new threat to the UK maritime industries is currently being studied by the marine insurance industry. How best this new domain of risk can be managed is work in progress.

London's leading role in the aviation, marine and insurance worlds means that the cyber risk will become of increasing interest to insurers, airport and port operators, airlines and ship owners, writes Nick Watts, Chairman of Cyber Security Policy Forum and T&I consultant, following a parliamentary event organised by the T&I team with insurers, cyber intelligence and protective security training professionals.

London construction link takes shape

Construction marketing and political counsel
Construction marketing and
political counsel
The T&I team is responsible for the marketing, communications and political counsel for a new construction solution for the Capital, the London Construction Link.

The Link is a collaboration between S. Walsh and the Port of Tilbury, building upon the Port's pedigree as the logistics and distribution centre for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and Walsh's success as the largest marine operator on the Thames. The Link is supported by British Cycling.

The Link has commissioned a report from KLH Sustainability to establish the socio-economic value of maximising the use of construction consolidation and river transport for the Nine Elms development area, which it is using as the part of the evidence base to advocate for change (click here).

Click here to see a TfL case study about the Link's capability and here to see a video about the Link's first project.

T&I supports high-speed rail launch

High speed rail media relations
High speed rail media relations
The T&I team has been appointed to provide media relations support to the transport and land use think tank, the Independent Transport Commission (ITC).

The team's focus is on increasing the breadth of the media coverage, particularly in the trade and regional broadcast and print media.

A recent project centred on the launch of the ITC's high-speed rail report - Ambitions and Opportunities: Understanding the Spatial Effects of High Speed Rail - with the Transport Secretary, Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP; the Chairman of HS2 Ltd, Sir David Higgins; and regional council leaders.

Coverage was secured on BBC Radio and in the Observer on Sunday, Yorkshire Post, Derby Telegraph, Sheffield Star, Architect's Journal, Infrastructure Intelligence, Construction Index, Local Government Chronicle, Rail Magazine, Rail Technology, Rail News, Local Transport Today and blogs like On The Platform.

Click here to read the Secretary of State's speech, ITC report and accompanying press release.

Shipping lines work towards a further tax reduction

The UK government confirms another success for the T&I team's campaign to end historic subsidy (click here).

In reaction to the signing of the Anglo-Irish agreement, Lars Axelsson, Chairman of the Independent Light Dues Forum, said: "It took over 100 years of parliamentary and industry pressure, but we got there. The Department for Transport should be commended for reaching this historic agreement with the Irish government. The ILDF members are pleased to have their efforts to end this anachronistic issue recognised."

John and Nicholas Finney OBE from the T&I team have been working for a coalition of international shipping lines - APL, EUKOR, K Line, Maersk, NYK Line, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics - to scrutinise the costs of the general lighthouse authorities (GLA) and lobby the UK government and EU Commission for change.

After the 2010 general election, a pathway to cease the subsidy paid to cover the costs of the maintenance of the Republic of Ireland's lighthouses - the "Irish subsidy" - was agreed. Two root-and-branch reviews have been undertaken, which helped to secure a Government commitment to reduce the GLA cost base by an initial 19% and deliver a tax reduction on vessels calling at the British Isles in 2014/15.

The T&I team is working to secure a further tax reduction in 2015/16.

Communications, counsel and coalition building for public inquiry

Planning public inquiry communications support
Planning public inquiry communications support

T&I's John Stevenson devised and constructed a heritage campaign coalition and communications strategy in support of the Gallagher Group's application to secure an extension to their quarry into a protected area known as Oaken Wood.

The application was opposed by environmental campaigners, including the Woodland Trust, who portrayed the decision as a test case for ancient woodland protection.

The campaign raised awareness of the loss of Kentish ragstone enlisting support from parliamentarians, Church of England, English Heritage, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Canterbury Cathedral, Historic Royal Palaces, Westminster Abbey and others.

John oversaw all media relations and political counsel throughout the public inquiry process and up to the opponents withdrawing their challenge to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government's decision to grant permission at The High Court of Justice.

Click here to read more about Hermitage Quarry.

Manifesto development - what happens when

With less than a year to go until the 2015 general election, the T&I team has produced a guide to the manifesto formulation process as the teams build their election pledges.

There are many means by which to engage with the process, from direct contact with a shadow team to adding your company's view, through a trade association, to the industry perspective.

Subject to the outcome of the referendum in Scotland, the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 has brought a degree of certainty to one part of the process. The manifestos will be launched six weeks before 7th May 2015.

Click here to view T&I's guide.