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Port looks to the future with collaborative sustainability art project

Portsmouth International Port, supported by Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services team and local technologists B4T, are working with Aspex, artist Peter Driver and The Flying Bull Academy on a collaborative artwork which will help to inspire residents and passengers passing through the port to make positive changes to help tackle carbon and emissions.

Around the world storms, floods and wildfires are intensifying. Air pollution sadly affects the health of tens of millions of people and unpredictable weather causes untold damage to homes and livelihoods too.

But while the impacts of climate change are devastating, advances in tackling it are leading to cleaner air, creating good jobs, restoring nature and at the same time unleashing economic growth.

Portsmouth International Port has bold plans to tackle emissions and carbon, and aims to be net carbon neutral by 2030, and become the UK’s first zero emission port by 2050.

As a municipal port, owned by the people of Portsmouth, they have an obligation to ensure that their success doesn’t have a detrimental effect on local people living nearby.

To help inspire residents and passengers to make a positive change, the port is working with Aspex and artist Peter Driver, who will be creating a collaborative artwork with year 5 children at The Flying Bull Academy, which is less than 500 metres away from the port.

This project kicked off today (Wednesday 19 January) as part of Portsmouth City Council’s Aspirations Week, which is designed to give children the chance to start thinking about what they might want to be in the future. The children heard from Gareth, marketing officer at the port, about the wide range of projects that are underway to reduce carbon and emissions.

They also heard from Alex Barter (above), managing director at B4T, about the technology behind the port’s innovative air quality sensors, and from Eloise and Antonia, who work for Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services team (below) who told them all about the new solar panels they are installing at the port. They also provided information about the schemes they have on offer to help their families save energy.

Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“Aspirations Week is all about inspiring the next generation about the career pathways on offer in the city.

“This exciting project which fuses art, industry and sustainability will give children at The Flying Bull Academy a real insight into the port’s green plans for the future. With the input from the council’s Energy Services team, they’ll learn some great tips on saving energy and also our wider plans to help the city reach net carbon zero by 2030.”

Lucy Stapenhill, teacher and art lead for The Flying Bull Academy added:

“We are really excited to have been given the opportunity to work in conjunction with a number of environmentally focused organisations. Climate change is obviously a growing concern for all and is especially important for our younger generations who will, ultimately, be more impacted in the future if we don’t act now.

“We look forward to learning about the work and initiatives that are being put in place in our local area and hope to create some meaningful artwork to help raise awareness to the community.”

Next week, the children will have a bus tour of the port and neighbouring Portico. The project will finish with a workshop at the school with artist Peter Driver and Aspex, who will help the children create a collaborative artwork. This will be displayed on a large billboard outside the port from 28 February for four weeks.

Mike Sellers, director of Portsmouth International Port said:

“I’m determined that as we grow, we do so sustainably. One of our aims over the coming year is to reach out to the local community and show them more of what is going on right on their doorstep, especially our plans to reduce emissions and carbon.

“I can’t wait to see the results of the collaborative artwork on the huge billboard outside the port in March.”

Joanne Bushnell, director at Aspex said:

“We are thrilled to be working on this collaborative project to raise awareness of environmental issues which impact our city and to explore how the port is actively addressing the challenge.

“It’s so important to encourage children and young people to think creatively about the future, the environment and our impact on it. We can’t wait to work with artist Peter Driver and Flying Bull, and to see the children’s work and find out more about their ideas.”

Peter Driver, the artist who will be leading the project added:

“This collaborative artwork will highlight the power of working together to protect our environment, and address the climate emergency.”