Port of Lisbon Dredging Project Shortlisted for ESPO Award

Port of Lisbon Dredging Project Shortlisted for ESPO Award

The next project shortlisted for this year’s ESPO comes from Lisbon and looks at new ways to preserve the natural environment around the port, while improving its economic prospects and collaboration with society and stakeholders.

The 2014 ESPO Awards celebrate the role that ports can play in maintaining the natural environment and contributing to a sustainable future for all. The five ports shortlisted for this year’s Award, Huelva, Koper, Lisbon, Marseille and Rotterdam all demonstrate innovation in projects that improve environmental standards.

ESPO: Congratulations! You have been shortlisted for the ESPO Award 2014 together with four other port projects! Could you briefly describe your project?

Port of Lisbon Authority: As one of the obligations arising from the transposition to Portuguese legislation of the Framework Water Directive, the Port of Lisbon Authority prepared its maintenance dredging plan for the five years 2010-2015. This conforms to the proposed conditions and takes into account a program that may be set by the environmental authorities, developing the plan subject to approval.

The plan contains the biophysical, social and economic framework of the Port of Lisbon, detailing the geographical features with regard to its environmental aspect, the matter of marine accessibility and development as well as the economic situation, legal and administrative framework of the port authority.

It identifies the existing port structures and details the system of maritime accesses including the port entrance channels and the system of navigation channels in the estuary, giving a detailed classification of all the areas subject to dredging and includes a detailed and innovative study regarding the immersion of sediments in the estuary. Finally, it sets calendars and an estimate of the volumes to be dredged in each place.

ESPO: What is the innovative environmental added value of the project?

Port of Lisbon Authority: The plan proposes new ways for collaborating, co-operating and contributing with the natural and social environment. The Port must be considered on the one hand as an extremely sensitive natural environment, one that represents the Estuary of the Tagus River, protected at national, European and international levels, and on the other hand, that it shares its jurisdiction with 11 districts, including Lisbon, which has almost one third of the Portuguese population. This was taken as an opportunity for presenting new ways in which the Port, in collaboration with society, can not only respect its surrounding but also improve natural and social situations by the use of new techniques, for instance the immersion of dredged sediments in the Estuary or its use for helping areas with serious problems as Barreiro, Moita or Caparica.

ESPO: Why do you think your project deserves to win the 2014 ESPO Award?

Port of Lisbon Authority: In general, most European ports need dredging so the port can work and expand. With the dredging plan the port authority was able to demonstrate to the stakeholders, environmental authorities and municipalities, that all the dredging works planned are a tool not only for improving the Port operating capacity but also improving the environmental, social and economic situation of the estuary’s area.

ESPO: What are you going to do if you win the Award?

Port of Lisbon Authority: After a huge celebration in Brussels, back in Portugal the award will be a major incentive to improve an develop innovative ways to contribute to a more healthy and sustainable estuary. The Award will be also very motivating for all who works on these matters. And in the end this may be the most important.

ESPO: Besides having the ESPO Award winner statute, what would the Award further mean to you?

Port of Lisbon Authority: This award is the recognition that the effort that the Port Authority has been doing to improve the environmental social and economic situation of the estuary’s area is in the right direction and that’s an incentive to keep trying to innovate.

This award is the best way to show to society the effort that the Port Authority makes towards contributing for a better environmental development of the estuary’s area.

ESPO: How would you make your experience in developing the project available to others?

Port of Lisbon Authority: The project forced us to systematize the actions regarding the environmental and dredging taken by the port and to think in an integrated and inclusive approach of the dredging interventions in the Estuary.

The Award will promote a more effective dissemination of the project and a further communication from the Port of Lisbon with other national ports, stakeholders and public.

ESPO will announce the winner at a ceremony at the Albert Hall in Brussels on 4 November.

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