Good practice

In order to avoid and minimise the potential effects of ship and boat generated wastes on marine features ports and harbours operating within marine SACs should:

  • Develop and implement port waste management plans according to Merchant Shipping Regulations, the DETR guidelines or the BMIF/RYA guidelines written specifically for the recreational boating sector. Provide adequate reception facilities for oil, chemical and garbage wastes, and remove, as far as is practicable, any disincentives to landing waste in the port. As part of this process ports and harbours should:
  • consider consulting with local representatives of country conservation agencies, in addition to other statutory and relevant consultees, to improve understanding of waste management planning and to ensure that environmental considerations are addressed,
  • consider incorporating brief information on the European marine site in the port waste management plan,
  • encourage the responsible management of waste, including minimisation and recycling, at the point of generation on ships, reception in ports/harbours, transportation and disposal, and
  • ensure that port and harbour employees and users dispose of garbage and other wastes responsibly in facilities provided and report any spills or large pieces of floating garbage to the port authority.
  • Prepare, implement and practice oil spill contingency plans according to Merchant Shipping (OPRC) Regulations and MCA guidelines in order to provide guidance and direction to those responding to oil or chemical spills and to set in motion all the necessary actions to stop or minimise the pollution and reduce its effects on the environment. As part of this process ports and harbours should:
  • undertake a thorough risk assessment of the area to be covered by the plan, with particular attention to sensitive marine features and the response times necessary to minimise the potential adverse effects on them,
  • give the highest priority of response where practicable, after human safety, to sensitive habitats and species that are likely to be adversely effected by potential spills. These sensitive areas should be clearly shown on the response guide chart,
  • identify areas where the use of dispersants presents little or no concern, and areas containing sensitive marine features where their use should be avoided, unless this increases risk of adverse effects of oil pollution on marine features, seeking advice from the country conservation agencies where appropriate, and
  • ensure, as far as practical, that clean-up operations are undertaken in such a way as to avoid or minimise damage to sensitive intertidal animals and plants.
  • Assist MCA to make sure shipowners comply with IMO guidance for ‘the control and management of ship's ballast water to minimise the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens’. The guidelines recommend that ports and harbours should:
  • inform local agents and/or ships of areas and situations where uptake of ballast water should be avoided, such as near sewage outfalls, areas known to be contaminated with harmful organisms or in very shallow water where there is a risk of sediment being introduced to the ballast tanks, and
  • encourage the exchange of ballast water at sea, where it is considered safe to do so.
  • Encourage all boat owners to use the shore-side toilet facilities as much as possible.
  • Provide onshore reception facilities in ports, harbours and marinas for pumping-out sewage wastes and undertake regular consultation with boat users over the adequacy of these facilities.
  • Encourage the use of holding tanks where fitted and the disposal of waste at shore side pump-out facilities whenever possible, and while underway as far offshore as possible in areas where strong currents will ensure dilution and dispersion.
  • Discourage, or where considered necessary prohibit, discharge of sewage wastes where doing so would affect water quality and harm marine features in ports and harbours and surrounding waters.