Speaking at the Annual British Ports Association/UK Chamber of Shipping Scottish Parliamentary Maritime Reception in Edinburgh, the Scottish Ports Group’s Chair, Lorna Spencer, called for a greater focus on the vital role that ports play in future transport and environmental decisions, particularly ahead of Brexit.

“We will be closely examining what the potential regulatory and environmental opportunities might mean for Scottish ports after Brexit. This could mean removing the recently passed EU Port Services Regulation and also what improvements to the port planning and consenting regimes might be possible,” she said.

In addition, highlighting the ports' significant economic contribution, she suggested that Government investment in better rail and particularly road connections to ports could significantly encourage parts of the Scottish freight and tourism industries, to which ports are so important.

Further, she noted a problem in environmental protection initiatives.

"Unfortunately, there is a prevailing feeling in the ports industry that there is now an imbalance with the wide variety of environmental conditions often taking precedence over development. This must stop, and we are calling on Ministers to give special recognition to the role that ports play by exempting them from certain environmental planning conditions. This will mean that ports can continue to function, develop and provide the jobs so vital to coastal communities and the Scottish economy,” she concluded.