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ESPO environmental code conduct

The General Meeting of the European Sea Ports Organizations, ESPO , in April 2003 passed the Environmental Code of Conduct to modify the first Code published in 1994, in view of changes to EU legislation and the progress achieved by the port sector in the development of sustainable port policies.

Sustainable development and management of the ports have become imperative for diverse reasons. Society, stakeholders and clients see sustainable development as a requirement for better acceptance of the port in the local economy. Environmental legislation increasingly demands that port management act in a sustainable manner. Furthermore, the ports themselves understand that good environmental behavior may be a convincing commercial argument.

The new Code reiterates the collective commitment of the port sector to contributing to sustainable development in its three dimensions: social, economic and environmental, and shows that the port sector is improving its environmental conduct.

European ports differ amongst themselves in many aspects: ownership, economic structure, activities and environmental responsibility: Some port organizations are responsible for management of the entire port area and, at times, are also owners of port companies (including those that handle loads), whereas others are simply lease port space or have mixed duties in the exploitation of the port. Sometimes, port management is affected by the need to comply with environmental authorizations and, at other times, it is not. Companies are affected by these authorizations in practically all cases.

But the stakeholders often consider the port area a unique system. They suppose that any environmental issue that occurs in that area should be dealt with by the manager, even if he or she is not directly responsible. Even if the Port Administration is not directly responsible for the activities performed in the area, it still, nonetheless, has a certain general responsibility to the public, which is reinforced in the Directive on Environmental Responsibility.

Therefore, the ESPO advises Port Administrations, with or without direct responsibility for the environment, to use this Code of Environmental Conduct as an aid for developing instruments to allow them to manage environmental issues. That will contribute to the full integration of the ports in their communities.

Part I of the Code sets out 10 objectives that the EU port sector must attempt to comply with (Environmental Policy Code). Part II of the Code highlights the achievements of the port sector over recent years in the area of the environment and mentions the context of European policies (History of Port Policy). Part III of the Code presents a panorama (current and future) of environmental legislation and its effects on ports, along with directives so that Port Administrations can manage the execution of European regulations in accordance with the principles set out in the "Environmental Policy Code"(Manual of recommended environmental practices). Lastly, the Annexe to the Code is a bibliography of environmental policies and directives available on the ESPO website.

Code for the application of Directives on Birds (79/409/EC) and Habitat (92/43/EEC). ESPO

This code, published in February 2007, contains a series of guidelines and recommendations for the integration of the protective measures contained in the aforementioned directives into port management.