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Portsmouth’s port moves closer to net carbon neutral ambitions

The port at night

Reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality are two of the most pressing issues facing the world today. The question facing many ports across the globe is how they can play their part in tackling this crucial challenge.

Portsmouth International Port, which is the UK’s largest and most successful municipal port, is taking a proactive approach with a comprehensive carbon reduction plan.

The plan sets out a road map that will help fulfil the port’s ambition of becoming the first net carbon neutral UK port by 2030, and the first zero emission port as part of the government’s Maritime 2050 strategy.

Portsmouth City Council, who own and operate the port, threw their support behind the plan at a cabinet meeting earlier today.

The plan includes the following initiatives:

  • Maximise the use of solar panels and battery storage technology, which could provide around 60% of the port’s electricity requirements.
  • Installation of wind turbines across the site.
  • ‘Living walls’ introduced around the perimeter of the port.
  • Fast charging points for electric vehicles installed at the terminal building.
  • The replacement of diesel vehicles at the port with electric versions.
  • Vehicles that cannot be replaced with electric-powered equivalents will be upgraded to those that comply to the very latest emission standards.
  • This in addition to the extensive work that has already taken place. The terminal building which uses wind catchers on the roof of the building for ventilation, and sea water harvesting for heating, cooling and toilet flushing.

The latest linkspan (bridge between ships and the quay) uses ‘soft-start’ electric motors to reduce electricity consumption, and lighting across the port has been upgraded with LED technology, offering significant carbon savings.

The port is also installing innovative air quality sensors across the site. The information captured can be used to inform port operations so that air pollution can be reduced at peak times.

Portico, who operate the international cargo terminal at the port, have made a switch to cleaner GTL (Gas to liquid fuel), which is proven to reduce emission levels of harmful pollutants such as nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) to immediately improve local air quality.

In addition, the port’s customers are investing heavily in new build ships that are lowering emissions. Brittany Ferries will introduce two LNG powered ferries by 2022, and Wightlink are already operating the Solent’s first car ferry that uses ground-breaking hybrid technology.

Mike Sellers, port director at Portsmouth International Port said: “Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, we’ve still been working hard to ensure we prepare for a green recovery here at the port.

“We need to take bold action if we’re to meet our goal to be the UK’s first zero emission port, and play our part in tackling this pressing issue”.

Cllr Dave Ashmore, cabinet member for Environment and Climate Change at Portsmouth City Council said: “We’ve been clear in our plans to combat climate change, with energy saving projects at the council already delivering 250 tonnes of carbon savings a year.

“It is also important we do all that we can do to improve air quality in Portsmouth, as polluted air impacts everyone’s health. This ambitious plan demonstrates the ambition of the port and entire city to take this issue seriously, driving down emissions and improving the quality of life for our residents”.

The plan will now be submitted to the Department for Transport for formal approval.