Nature restoration: Europe’s ports ask for a coherent and flexible framework to ensure port development and (re)building nature can go hand-in-hand

April 28, 2023

ESPO very much welcomes the aim of enhancing biodiversity and preserving nature. ESPO therefore support the aims set out in the Nature Restoration Law, but believes this new proposal must act as a complement to existing EU legislation, rather than introducing another layer of complexity in nature restoration efforts. The proposal must avoid reinventing the wheel, and should provide some flexibility for ports and a level playing field on the European level.

Since ports are often located in or near different natural areas, ports strive to integrate the protection of biodiversity in all port operations, making it part of their license to operate. Ports have already demonstrated that port development and ecological transition towards better and more nature can go in hand.

As partners in realising the energy transition, Europe’s ports will need more physical space and a facilitating legislative framework to truly become hubs of renewable energies, and to be an enabler in the race to a Net-Zero Europe. Socioeconomic and strategic considerations must be viewed alongside the continued economic operations of the ports and nature restoration efforts.