It’s been 13 years and still they have not fully complied. It’s not just them though, they are we can assure you in good company.
The Port of Dover, Folkestone Harbour Company and the Port of Ramsgate have according to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) been in breach of the Aarhus Convention, EU Directive 2003/4/EC and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 for up to 13 years in some cases. These are all pieces of legislation which help protect the environment. The parties above MUST pro-actively disseminate environmental information, but in too many instances are not complying with the legislation and acting in some cases above the law.
The daddy of all environmental pieces of legislation is the Aarhus Convention, so called because that is where it was signed. It states:
“Environmental Information” means any information in written, visual, aural, electronic or any other material form on:
(a) The state of the elements of the environment, such as air and atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape and natural sites, biological fiversity and its components, including genetically modified organisms, and the interaction among these elements.
So Folkestone Harbour Company which owns the Harbour, The Harbour Arm and the Seafront “is considered a statutory port and therefore some of its activities fall within the scope of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs).” Now there is an awful lot of development going on in and around the areas mentioned above. The Harbour arm is being redeveloped, as are parts of the harbour and Sir Roger (pictured) wishes to build up to 1000 homes on the seafront. According to the ICO Sir Roger must publish via his company website, “Environmental Information”.
Article 7(2) of the EU Directive even tells us what information Sir Roger and his company must pro-actively disseminate. So for instance, the Environmental Statement (Part 1) should be published, as should data on emissions, flooding, noise etc. This appears to be a failure by Sir Roger and his company to take their environmental responsibilities seriously. We would ask him to publish the data; which is legally necessary on his company’s website, to demonstrate that he and his company are not above the law. After all he and the company have had 13 years to comply.
However, that said, Sir Roger pales into insignificance when compared to the Port Of Dover who according to the ICO, is considered a statutory port and therefore some of its activities fall within the scope of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs), the EU Directive and the Aarhus Convention. Looking at their website, there is no dedicated email address where one can send an EIR Request. There are no lists, registers or files where they pro-actively disseminate environmental information.
Now the Chief Executive of the Port of Dover is Mr Tim Waggott (pictured) and according to the Port of Dover accounts he received £432,000 (including pension & other benefits). Might he be able to explain why after 13 years, the Port of Dover have no dedicated email address for EIR Requests and why they appear not to be pro-actively disseminating environmental information on their website as they must. Is he really worth the money? One must consider £120bn of traded goods comes through Dover; which amounts to 17% of Britain’s total. All this causes an awful lot of pollution, be it on land, soil, sea, air or atmosphere.
We understand that the Goodwin Sands is to be dredged to help Dover expand. The Deal based Campaign group Goodwinsandssos.org with the vocal support of Sir Mark Rylance and other eminent persons, should be alerted to the fact that the Port of Dover are failing in their environmental responsibilities.
It’s not just Folkestone Harbour Company, or the Port of Dover who are failing to live up to their environmental responsibilities by pro-actively disseminating environmental information on their websites. The Port of Ramsgate owned by Thanet District Council, is also failing to live up to its environmental responsibilities. Thanet though are blessed as they have the excellent blogger Ian Driver, who all too often has blogged about the Port of Ramsgate.
It is not just these three ports which are failing to pro-actively disseminate environmental information about their ports. Southampton, Felixstowe and Aberdeen for example are also failing, as they publish very little, if any environmental information on their websites. They are according to the ICO considered to be statutory ports and therefore some of their activities fall within the scope of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs).
What with climate change, rising seas and the pollution of the air which we breathe, environmental information and its pro-active dissemination has become ever more important. When we consider all the development happening, or to happen across our fantastic district of Shepway and county of Kent, we need this information, as it allows us to speak Truth to Power.
The Shepwayvox Team