The ESPO Award 2016 will be presented to the port authority that succeeds the best in safeguarding and further upgrading the nature in the port area, both on land and at the waterside. The five projects that are shortlisted for this year’s Award are the projects of Bremen, Cartagena, Dunkirk, Guadeloupe and Riga.
ESPO is proud to present the shortlisted projects before the winner is announced during the official Award Ceremony at the Egmont Palace in Brussels on 9 November.
bremenports GmbH & Co. KG (Germany)
LUNEPLATE: A unique natural paradise and valuable green port infrastructure
ESPO: Congratulations! You have been shortlisted for the ESPO Award 2016! Could you briefly describe your project?
Several former port extensions and infrastructure projects in Bremerhaven led to land requirements in the sensitive Wadden Sea environment. These projects damaged valuable nature sites, affected local recreational and residential areas and created the challenge of reconciling these different interests to enable co-development. Accordingly, bremenports had to raise awareness of environmental aspects and social needs and ensure that these were treated with due care and professionalism. Consequently, bremenports developed a master plan for the implementation of compensation measures in order to integrate compensation requirements in reduced economic development plans for the Luneplate.
The Luneplate is located in the south of Bremerhaven, where the Weser flows into the North Sea. It adjoins the extensive Wadden Sea areas. Today, the compensation area covers approximately 1060 hectares. The Luneplate project consists of four different main areas (outer dyke areas, grassland area, tidal polder and the area at the “Old Weser”). The diversity of these different sites, which merge into one another, offers a habitat for various (endangered) species. All in all, our Luneplate project stands for commitment to biodiversity, for active involvement of the interests of the local public, local farmers and nature protection NGOs in line with the economic interests of the Ports of Bremen.
ESPO: How does your project contribute to the societal integration of the port?
In the context of social integration, it was necessary to explain the legal and professional background of the project to stakeholders and to discuss criticism in a transparent way. Therefore, it was a great advantage to have continuity in our actively involved staff, as the public recognised our true intention of assuming the responsibility entrusted to us. Additionally, we ensure the exchange with our stakeholders through regular public information events and we have developed a comprehensive visitors’ concept including information and observation facilities.
(c) Uwe von Bargen
ESPO: Could you describe the original and innovative character of your project?
Luneplate is the first project to implement large and varied tidal habitats behind the main dyke in connection with a special flood barrage. It is still unique to find these permanently connected tidal habitats behind the dyke line. This special design will also be effective in terms of climate change. New mudflat areas have been created behind the dykes, providing new habitats for diverse endangered estuary species even when the sea level rises. Windmills lift the water into grassland polders to keep the ground suitable for breeding meadow birds and as a habitat for visiting Nordic geese and waders.
ESPO: Why do you think your project deserves to win the ESPO Award 2016?
Our project is an excellent example of an integrated approach combining economy and ecology, bringing world port development requests together with the needs of a very sensitive environment, i.e. the UNESCO World Heritage Area “Wadden Sea”. On the basis of intensive stakeholder communications, a visible, large, innovative and sustainable solution has been created that will also be successful under the conditions of climate change. Intensive monitoring stated the effective implementation. The comprehensive visitors’ concept opens the area to the public and provides transparent information. Last but not least, the Luneplate project was the initial element for our sustainability strategy called “greenports”. The ESPO Award would highlight this game change from duty to real responsibility and appreciate a unique example of organisational changes to a better societal integration of ports.
ESPO: How would you make your experience in developing the project available to others?
As part of local, regional, national and international networks we want to share our experiences with the general public, scientific institutions, public authorities, NGOs and other ports in order to initiate good practice wherever it is needed. We will present the further development in our periodical environmental and sustainability reports as well as on our special greenports homepage and we are open for new ideas, activities and exchange opportunities to present our project and to share the lessons learned.
The Luneplate project is a successful example that demonstrates that biodiversity and the realisation of port infrastructure projects do not need to be a contradiction. Through the implementation of comprehensive compensation measures, the creation of substitute habitats for diverse endangered flora and fauna and the integration of our stakeholders, we fill our sustainability claim with life.
Robert Howe, Managing Director of bremenports GmbH & Co. KG