Ports reveal huge scale of industry environmental efforts

From Aberdeen to Ardrossan; Belfast to Blyth, Pembroke to Portsmouth; and Shetland to Southampton; the British Ports Association has today published a comprehensive package of case studies of environmental good practice from dozens of UK ports.

The BPA will be adding new stories to the pack over time as well as regularly highlighting individual case studies. Included in the current collection are:

  • The use of two bubble curtains in the construction of Aberdeen’s new south harbour to protect marine mammals from any harmful effects of the building work
  • ABP’s £6.8 million roof mounted solar array at the Port of Hull
  • Belfast Harbour’s drive towards 100% renewable energy usage and smart electricity generation
  • The installation of the UK’s first intermediate voltage shore power system, in Orkney, as well as smaller shore power systems in Fraserburgh and Lerwick
  • The Port of London’s hybrid pilot cutter, which will cut diesel usage significantly
  • Milford Haven’s environmental surveillance group that has been running for 27 years making the waterway one of the best-studied estuaries in Europe
  • Beach cleaning days run by the ports of Plymouth, Dover, London, Fraserburgh, and ABP
  • PD Ports’ participation in Operation Clean Sweep, which aims to reduce the amount of plastic lost into our seas. The BPA is currently part of a steering group working on a fast-track industry standard with a similar aim, building on this work
  • A number of fishing ports’ participation in the ‘Fishing for Litter’ scheme by KIMO. Participating fishers are given hard wearing bags to collect any plastic waste caught whilst fishing, which is then collected and recycled.
  • Orkney Harbours’ work on monitoring and preventing invasive species
  • Portland Port’s non-native invasive species control plan
  • Salcome Harbour’s eco-mooring facility

The list goes on. The collection of good news stories is drawn from ports across five broad categories:

  • Habitats and Biodviersity
  • Reducing Emissions
  • Renewables
  • Research, Collaboration, and Leadership
  • Plastics, Waste, and Recycling

The collection is available to view on a map here and in an A4 e-book version here.

Commenting on the project, Mark Simmonds, Head of Policy & External Affairs at the BPA said:

“This collection of stories shows the tremendous amount of effort ports put into reducing emissions, protecting and enhancing habitats and biodiversity, and tackling waste and marine litter. Much of this work goes unappreciated and we hope that this work will start to highlight some of the everyday effort ports make in delivering positive outcomes for our environment.

“Some of these stories push the boundaries of innovation, others are more routine but they are all important. We hope that this project might inspire others to imitate some of the good work and also submit their own good news stories.

“The BPA has always taken a strong leadership role on environmental matters, championing a balance between sustainable development and economic activity. We were a co-founder of the EcoPorts scheme, led on port stakeholder communications, created the first environment group for port professionals in the world, produced a Sustainability Charter, promoted coastal shipping and of late we have been looking extensively at air quality issues and shore power.

“This initiative shines a light on some excellent UK port projects and examples. We are hopeful that this initiative will enable other ports to learn from BPA members and join our programme.”

The BPA has also published an online form where ports and BPA associate members working in ports can submit new stories. These will be published on the BPA website and eventually printed in various formats.

These stories were collected from BPA members at the beginning of 2020 but publication was postponed whilst the industry and government have been dealing with the immediate challenges presented by COVID-19. Physical boxes of postcards are available from the BPA, and the stories are also published as an e-book and as individual stories on the BPA website.

The BPA, which represents ports that handle 86% of seaborne trade in the UK and operators that facilitate many other maritime activities, has always taken a strong leadership role on sustainability issues. Collectively the UK ports sector, which is the second largest in Europe, has been one of the world’s leaders in its efforts to minimise its environmental impacts.