British Ports Association rolls out its sustainability charter

The British Ports Association (BPA) has published its new sustainable development charter which commits to supporting the dual aims of a strong and healthy environment and a thriving economy.

Astonishingly, 90 percent of the UK population lives within 30 miles of the coast, and no part of the UK is more than 70 miles from it. The Charter notes action underway for shoreside power with some British ports having already installed shoreside power for smaller vessels such as fishing boats and leisure craft. For the majority of ports, particularly those handling large vessels such as cruise ships and large cargo vessels, the installation cost is currently prohibitively high. However, all major ports in England (and many others in the rest of the UK) will have produced air quality plans that include assessments on shoreside power by May 2019.

The Charter underlines the BPA’s commitment to sustainable development and working constructively with industry, Government and environmental groups. Specifically, it commits the BPA to:
• Encouraging 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 members as they continue helping to reduce marine pollution and litter 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 major port members in the development of new air quality plans to reduce emissions and sharing good practice among industry
• Through membership of the European Sea Ports Organisation, continuing to promote and support the EcoPorts initiative in the UK.
• Supporting 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
• Continuing to support the Seafish Industry Authority in the development of the Responsible Fishing Ports Scheme that is suitable for all ports and ensures transparency and accountability in the seafood supply chain
• Prioritizing navigational safety across the industry and working with industry partners Port Skills & Safety on improving terrestrial safety as well
• Periodically reviewing the industry’s environmental record and improving this resolution

The BPA represents 350 ports, terminals and port facilities. U.K. Ports handle 95 percent of the U.K.’s international trade. Ports take their environmental responsibilities seriously, said BPA Chairman Alec Don. “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 U.K. that preserves our incredible natural environment and habitats whilst giving ports greater certainty and the ability to grow sustainably.

“As guardians of our maritime gateways, ports and harbors will continue to provide safe, secure and sustainable operations, independent of Government and at no cost to the Exchequer.”

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