Maintenance activities

This section examines the impacts that may result from the maintenance of harbour structures and vessels including:

  • harbour and marina run off from the maintenance of harbour structures and boat cleaning areas,
  • the use of biocides and detergents to clean harbour structures and fixtures and protect them from algal growth, and
  • the maintenance of vessels in the harbour and the use of antifouling paints to protect against fouling of boats.

Many of the products that are used in the care and maintenance of infrastructure and vessels in port/harbour areas can be harmful to the environment, particularly if used in carelessly or in excess. Ports can only control maintenance activities on the port estate. Pollution arising from privately owned facilities is a matter for the Environment Agency which is the relevant authority responsible for the protection of ‘controlled waters’ from pollution under the Water Resources Act 1991. In general, existing pollution control powers will be sufficient for the purpose of protecting marine SACs. However, in the context of SAC/SPA management their powers may only be used where the impacts relate to the features for which the site has been designated.

The main legislative controls over the activities involved in the maintenance of harbour operations are listed below and summarised in Appendix F. These are largely concerned with the use, storage and disposal of harmful substances and duty of care for the environment. Under the Water Resources Act 1991 it is an offence to cause pollution in controlled waters, either deliberately or accidentally.

List of legislation and regulations concerned with the maintenance of harbour structures

  • Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) legislation.
  • Environment Protection Act 1990.
  • EC Directive on Biocides 1998.
  • Food and Environment Protection Act, 1985.
  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Regulations.
  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
  • Town & Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1995.
  • Town & Country Planning (Environmental Assessment and Permitted Development) Regulations 1988.
  • Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995.
  • Water Resources Act, 1991.

The most wide ranging regulations covering maintenance activities is the Europe wide ban on the use of TBT (tributyl tin) based paints in 1987 for craft under 25m. The IMO have recently recommended a ban on the use of TBT in antifouling paints from January 2003 and the presence of TBT on ships hulls will be prohibited by 2008.

All of the biocides used in the marine industry in the UK have received provisional approval from the HSE and following a review process, copper may become the first biocide to obtain full approval. The recent EC Directive on biocides requires the evaluation of all biocides by the year 2008 with regard to their efficacy and safety to humans and the environment. Only substances having passed this evaluation, as 'low risk' or 'basic' substances, will be listed in Annex I of the Directive and can be placed on the market.

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