The British Ports Association has published a sustainable development resolution, which commits to support the dual aims of a strong and healthy environment and a thriving economy.
The BPA represents 350 ports, terminals and port facilities across the UK. UKPorts handle 95% of the UK’s international trade, keeping goods moving in an efficient manner that underpins the UK’s economy. The industry is also highly productive and employs over 101,000 people. Ports are often hubs of regional economic activity and support a wide range of industries including energy, fishing, automative, aggregates, agriculture and of course the entire maritime sector.
Ports take their environmental responsibilities seriously. BPA Chairman Alec Don said:
“The British Ports Association is committed to grasping the once in a generation opportunity that Brexit will provide to promote a sustainable development framework in the UK that preserves our incredible natural environment and habitats whilst giving ports greater certainty and the ability to grow sustainably.
“Careful management of our seas and waters is key to a sustainable future and ports will continue to play a part in delivering it. As guardians of our maritime gateways, ports and harbours will continue to provide safe, secure and sustainable operations, independent of Government and at no cost to the Exchequer.
“Ports build and maintain a significant amount of privately financed infrastructure within the principles of sustainable development. We are committed to working more closely with conservation bodies, Government, and our members to promote better stewardship of the marine environment”
Mark Simmonds, Policy Manager at the BPA who is leading the initiative said:
“This Charter underlines the BPA’s commitment to sustainable development and working constructively with industry, Government and environmental groups.
“As part of this we are putting forward some policy proposals for improving the sustainable development framework in the UK. This builds on our input into the Government’s consultation on the UK’s future environmental principles. We are ready to work with other interested groups and Government to improve both the environment whilst at the same time giving responsible developers more certainty and clarity as they oversee significant and important infrastructure.
“We will now consult with our members, the wider maritime industry, Government, and environmental groups on this Charter and examine steps we can take to improve it over time.”
The Charter commits the BPA to:
- Encouraging our members to continue acting as responsible custodians of the marine environment by building and maintaining infrastructure within the principles of sustainable development
- Through industry groups, working with conservation bodies to promote sustainable development
- Supporting our members as they continue helping to reduce marine pollution and litter and promoting cleaner oceans by providing suitable waste reception facilities for vessels
- Where appropriate supporting the principles of ‘modal shift’ within the UK and encouraging more coastal shipping, helping to reduce road congestion and overall freight carbon dioxide emissions
- Supporting our major port members in the development of new air quality plans to reduce emissions within their Harbour Areas and sharing good practice amongst industry
- Through our membership of the European Sea Ports Organisation, continuing to promote and support the EcoPorts initiative in the UK
- Supporting our members operating in designated marine conservation and protection area by promoting sustainable development and working with ports on good practice
- Facilitating environmental good practice in areas from ballast water management to oil spill prevention by bringing together port managers and environment officers to share experiences, innovative ideas and good practice on a regular basis
- Working constructively with the UK, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish Governments, as well as conservation bodies and regulators – pointing out issues where they arise and helping to disseminate advice and policy changes to industry
- Supporting regulators to positively drive innovative ideas on improved licensing and consenting arrangements
- Supporting the UK Government when promoting sustainability and coordinated action at a global level through the IMO and other forums
- Supporting sustainable fisheries that are economically and biologically viable for the next generation of our coastal communities
- Continuing to support the Seafish Industry Authority in the development of the Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme that is suitable for all ports and ensures unbroken transparency and accountability in the seafood supply chain
- Prioritising navigational safety across the industry and thereby continuing to support the industry’s excellent record in preventing and preparing for marine incidences and accidents that might lead to environmental
- impacts; and working with industry partners Port Skills & Safety in improving terrestrial safety as well
- Periodically reviewing industry’s environmental record and improving this resolution