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Port Operations

Site Owned/Managed by the Port of London Authority

Area of activity:  SITES OWNED OR MANAGED BY THE PLA

Statutory context:
Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (if site is SPA)
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended (if site is SSSI)
Harbours Act 1964 (general environmental duties)
Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (biodiversity duty)

What are the potential issues?
Positive Wildlife habitats can be protected and enhanced by appropriate land management practices
Negative

Operational activities or developments may lead to loss of or damage to wildlife habitats or species

Operational activities may cause pollution or lead to disturbance

Recommendations

General

Where sites, either marine or terrestrial, are statutorily designated as SSSI and/or SPA and Ramsar, implement any advice on management provided by Natural England that is within the PLA’s operational powers and remit with a view to achieving/maintaining Favourable status

Specifics

Review management of Cliffe Marshes and Allhallows and consider the development of an agreement with a suitable partner organisation, consistent with the existing agreement with Natural England, to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of the biodiversity interest of the sites through such mechanisms as conservation land management, regulation of public access and control of disturbance

Consider the development of one or more agreements with suitable partner organisations to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of intertidal and marine sites

Develop and implement management proposals for Oliver’s Ait in partnership with the London Wildlife Trust

Working with RSPB, NE, EA and Westminster Dredging, resolve future management of the Rainham silt lagoons

Support an appropriate restoration plan for the after-use of the Rainham landfill site, consistent with the agreed position statement.

Ensure that any operational activities on or affecting sites of biodiversity importance (especially SSSIs and/or SPA/Ramsar) are implemented to best practice, avoiding or mitigating any damage or disturbance to habitats/species and preventing pollution

Responsible Department or Section at PLA

Estates Department
Environment Department 

Capital and Maintenance Dredging by the Port of London Authority 

Area of activity:  CAPITAL AND MAINTENANCE DREDGING BY THE PLA

Statutory context:
Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (if likely significant effect upon SPAs, SAC)
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended (SSSIs)
Harbours Act 1964 (general environmental duties)
Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (biodiversity duty)
Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and implementing Regulations (Environmental Statements)

What are the potential issues?
Positive The use of water injection methods maintains sediment within the tidal system, thereby ensuring a continued supply of materials to allow natural riverine, estuarine and coastal processes to operate. If land-based disposal is necessary, beneficial options are available that contribute positively to nature conservation
Negative

Dredging has the potential to damage or destroy wildlife habitat, and to smother or remove species, leading to a reduction in the biological diversity in the river/estuary

Species may potentially be removed accidentally from one area and introduced into another, with unpredictable but possibly negative effects on the overall ecology of the system.

There may also be indirect impacts stemming from existing pollutants buried in the sediment being stirred up and introduced into the open water environment; any general increase in turbidity may have an impact on species or habitats

Under current legislation there is no statutory requirement for an Environmental Impact Assessment where dredging is undertaken by the PLA

Recommendations

Plan dredging campaigns with full regard to the best available environmental information and guidance, including the Maintenance Dredging Conservation Assessment and the Dredging Spatial Information System

Abide by similar guidelines to those used to inform third party dredging operations, notably Guidance Note 3: Wider Environmental Issues 

Ensure best practice in implementation of dredging operations, including beneficial use of arisings, either retention in the river system or if this is not possible beneficial disposal on land (Rainham or Cliffe Pools)

Responsible Department or Section at PLA

Environment Department 
Harbour Master (Upper)
Harbour Master (Lower)
Hydrographic Department

Full details on the PLA's procedure of authorising dredging can be found on the website here.

 Hydrographic Survey and Monitoring

Area of activity:  HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEY AND MONITORING

Statutory context:
Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (if likely significant effect upon SPAs, SAC)
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended (SSSIs)

What are the potential issues?
Positive The provision of data for the production of charts influences the protection of the river environment by contributing to safety of navigation and reducing the need for potentially damaging interventions
Negative

Effects on flora and fauna of emissions and vibrations from sonar equipment whilst surveying or carrying out environmental monitoring

Recommendations

The potentially negative impacts of the use of sonar equipment are not thought to be very great. Where feasible operations should be undertaken with reasonable regard to any sensitivities, notably spawning areas

Responsible Department or Section at PLA

Hydrographic Department

 Safety of Navigation

 

 

Area of activity:  SAFETY OF NAVIGATION

Statutory context:
Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (if likely significant effect upon SPAs, SAC)
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended (SSSIs)

What are the potential issues?
Positive

Safe navigation, with relevant policies, regulations and bylaws adhered to, leads to an avoidance of adverse incidents with the attendant risk of pollution, disturbance or damage to sites of biodiversity importance

Vessel inspections (of inland waterways freight and passenger vessels) ensure that vessels are fit for purpose, reducing the risk of environmentally damaging incidents

When vessel incidents occur, attendance at the scene and supervision of works prevents risk of pollution or other damaging activities

Negative

Maintenance and inspection of buoys, radar towers, lighthouses may lead to disturbance to species, or to water pollution through use of spray paints and thinners

Recommendations

Inspections and incident attendance continue to be carried out in a timely and efficient manner

Develop guidance for those carrying out vessel inspections, incorporating: location and time of inspections; noise levels; and physical disturbance.
 
Working practices to be put in place to prevent pollution incidents

Procedures should be put in place to ensure that the Environment Department is consulted as appropriate

Responsible Department or Section at PLA

Harbour Masters
Marine Safety and Contingency Management
Marine Services and Marine Engineering
Environment Department

Project Management and Implementation 

 

Area of activity:  PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION

Statutory context:
Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010  (if likely significant effect upon SPAs, SAC)
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended (SSSIs or protected species)
Harbours Act 1964 (general environmental duties)
Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (biodiversity duty)
Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and implementing Regulations (Environmental Statements)

What are the potential issues?
Positive

Effective planning and development of marine-based and civil engineering projects can help protect the river and terrestrial environment including biodiversity

Effective supervision of contractors undertaking projects can help protect the river and terrestrial environment including biodiversity

Negative

Construction and maintenance of piers, jetties, river walls, slipways, causeways and navigation aids may lead to water and/or land pollution, removal of or damage to habitats and disturbance to species

Pruning riverside trees in the upper reaches may result in habitat loss and disturbance to species

Recommendations

Legislative requirements for the protection of statutory sites and their designated interest features must be fully considered and integrated in the planning and implementation of projects, such that there is no adverse impact upon the sites and features. Non-statutory sites, notably the River Thames and tidal tributaries SMI, should also be considered and any appropriate avoidance or mitigation measures identified and implemented. In the case of projects having a significant effect on the environment, an Environmental Statement may be required which should set out any measures required to avoid or mitigate such impacts. Contractors should be made aware of these requirements and appropriately supervised.

Where the location of works is such that they may lead to disturbance, for example to feeding or roosting birds, consideration should be given to the timing of activity, and where possible works implemented at the least disturbing time of the year and/or tidal cycle.

In the case of tree pruning or removal, damage or disturbance to nesting birds or bat roosts must be avoided by carrying out suitable inspection and amending work programmes if necessary.

Responsible Department or Section at PLA

Marine Services and Marine Engineering
Civil Engineering
Environment Department

 

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