As the Statutory Harbour Authority responsible for commercial and recreational activity within Blyth Harbour, Port of Blyth takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously in maintaining a sustainable and commercially viable Trust Port. The Port works closely with a variety of environmental bodies such as the Environment Agency and Natural England to ensure environmental best practice is maintained and compliance with all relevant environmental legislation. A recent survey by The Carbon Trust supported this commitment to environmental protection finding that the Port’s carbon footprint was significantly best than accepted good practice.
Conservation & Dredging
Maintenance dredging is undertaken annually to maintain charted depths and the Port has a licence issued by the Marine & Fisheries Agency allowing all dredged material to be deposited in a licensed area. Frequent silt sampling is undertaken in all dredge areas to ensure material is free from contamination and the Port also operates its own tug which is fitted with bed-levelling equipment, allowing for some movement of silt within the river without the need for intrusive dredging.
In addition, the Port operates and maintains a series of navigation lights which as an ongoing policy are being replaced with self contained solar powered units. Currently 40% of the navigational lights are solar powered.
The Port has in place a Port Waste Management Plan which details procedures for all ship and port generated waste, approved by the MCA and audited annually. This plan complies with all requirements as set out in the MS (Port Waste Reception Facilities) Regulations 2003 with records of all waste received from ships maintained and submitted to the MCA.
Regular reviews are undertaken to assess waste minimisation, re-use and recycling both from ship and shore based activities. In addition to recycling on site, our designated waste contractors transfer collected waste initially to a recycling centre. This ensures that the ultimate volume of waste deposited to landfill sites is minimised with material segregated for recycling wherever possible.
A recent independent environmental audit was also completed under the MIDAS scheme, examined all current waste streams and methods of disposal together with the potential for further recycling. Following the audit alternative arrangements have been introduced and beneficial uses found for a number of waste products. An example of this is forest bark waste which is now processed at a composting facility and used as a road-building additive at landfill sites. Other opportunities for waste recycling have been identified and implemented for waste plastic wrapping, waste oil, tyres and batteries.
Pollution Prevention & Control
The Port has in place a comprehensive Safety Management System and quality system designed to minimise the potential for and impact of any potential forms of pollution.
In compliance with the MS (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998, an Oil Spill Contingency Plan has been approved by the MCA.
Three personnel are trained to MCA Level 4 in relation to this plan with a further six trained to MCA Level 1. As a member of the NE Ports Marine Group, the Port undertakes annual oil spill exercises in conjunction with other member ports.
Regular river and harbour inspections are also undertaken and any pollution investigated, reported and cleaned as required.
Other forms of pollution such as dust and noise are also carefully and frequently assessed with appropriate mitigation measures applied wherever appropriate. A good example of this is at our Battleship Wharf bulk terminal where a covered rail loading facility and sophisticated water spray dust suppression system have been introduced to ensure that any potential forms of environmental nuisance are effectively dealt with.
Within the jurisdiction of the Port lie the Northumbria Coast Special Protection Area and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, both designated due to importance of habitats for migratory birds. The Port undertakes it’s own monitoring of these habitats to understand and limit the effects of commercial and recreation uses on the River Blyth. As a corporate member of Northumberland Wildlife Trust, the Port is determined to minimise its impact on all wildlife and where possible provide enhanced habitats such as at Battleship Wharf where a careful planting scheme along the railway embankment has created an ideal environment for rare butterflies.