In preparation for our recent hybrid event, Ports and Freeports Development Conference, we spoke to Christian Silk, Head of Strategic Infrastructure Planning and Partner at Foot Anstey LLP on the importance Ports will play in the UK.

When asked what is happening within the industry at the moment, Christian said: “The environmental agenda and the need to achieve Net Zero continues to build momentum, Ports are already playing an important role in contributing to this and in delivering on the Government’s policies in this area through energy generation, transport and industry innovation.

“Ports are both an enabler of other net zero solutions such as facilitating the deployment of offshore wind farms and helping to drive change directly. Notably the maritime sector is responsible for 5% of the UK transport emissions, with diesel fuel predominantly used to power vehicles and equipment through the introduction of shore power solutions and multiple fuel sources such as hydrogen and electricity which are key to the decarbonisation of vessels. This stimulation of new green technologies is equally seen by Government as an opportunity to revive the UK’s shipbuilding industry.

He continues: “The balance to be struck between public aspirations and private investor risk appetite and the need for a return on investment is a difficult one to strike, however ports are well placed to enable long term changes, and the potential rewards for those that are able to adapt, particularly to take advantage of the burgeoning offshore wind market especially floating offshore wind could be significant.

“The support of other stakeholders such as National Grid is also crucial and notably National Grid has recently published an online tool to help UK ports meet their net zero targets by forecasting their future infrastructure required to meet potential increased demand for electricity from zero emission port operations.”

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At the Built Environment’s Ports and Freeports Development Conference is this Wednesday 11th May, Christian Silk, Partner and Head of Strategic Infrastructure Planning at Foot Anstey will be discussing the role of ports in delivering net zero development plans and nature recovery with speakers from the Port of London Authority, Mott MacDonald, the Port of Antwerp, the UK Chamber of Shipping and The Crown Estates.