Environmental decision issued for Outer Port project in Gdynia

2021/12/03 at 5:07 AM

The Port of Gdynia Authority has received an environmental decision for the Outer Port project, thanks to which it is possible to start the next stages of preparations for the investment. The decision was issued after several years of work involving a series of tests and analyses.

The Regional Director for Environmental Protection issued a decision on the environmental conditions for the Outer Port project. “This is extremely important information for us since obtaining the document is a significant milestone in the entire planning process and the future construction of the Outer Port, i.e. a project that will ensure the functioning and development of the Port of Gdynia for the next 100 years,” comments Maciej Krzesiński, director for marketing and international cooperation at the Port of Gdynia Authority.

To obtain a decision, a number of analyses and studies were conducted to indicate what impact the construction of a completely new pier in Gdynia will have on the natural, economic and cultural environment. One of the most important stages was to carry out an inventory of nature in the area of both the land part of the project and, of course, the water part. In the case of the bird inventory, the research covered the entire Bay of Puck, which is a very important area on a European scale for wintering and migratory water-marsh birds and a well-known refuge for breeding birds.

The impact of the planned investment on marine fauna was also examined. The possible impact of the planned investment on the objects of the protected areas, network coherence and integrity of these areas was also assessed. In the case of the land part, the inventory covered an area of 154 hectares, located both within the borders of the Port of Gdynia and beyond them.

Visualisation of the Outer Port project in Gdynia, source: Port of Gdynia Authority

The scope of the inventory area has been determined in such a way as to cover the area intended for each of the considered variants of construction of the road and rail system, differing in the location from each other, and the adjacent areas potentially affected by each of the variants. Due to the extension of the research to the areas occupied by the analysed variants, the analysis covered not only the area intended for the construction of the investor variant but also a significant buffer of the area around the variants.

The research on ichthyofauna in the further work process was extended by the Port of Gdynia Authority by conducting a survey of fish spawning and rearing fry of commercial fish in the area planned for the investment. “It should be mentioned that such tests have never been performed in our area. For this purpose, due to the specificity of the issue, a special project was developed by the Port of Gdynia Authority research methodology of the above-mentioned organisms agreed with the Maritime Office in Gdynia,” the press release reads. Another important element was the performance of bottom sediment cleanliness tests, which will be used as part of the investment to fill the newly built pier.

Protected areas

The Bay of Puck is not the only area of the Natura 2000 network in the Tri-City agglomeration. Another very important area of this network is the Orłowo Cliff and stone reefs, which are a place of protection, among others seagrass meadows. The most recognisable element of this area is the cliff. In order to investigate the impact of the construction of a new pier on this ecosystem, an analysis of the change in sediment movement after the construction of the Outer Port and the spread of sediment suspension during the construction of a new pier in the coastal zone was performed.

An analysis with the use of numerical modelling was also carried out, concerning the influence of bottom sediment suspension, which will be formed during dredging works and depositing the excavated material during construction, on the area of the Orłowo Cliff and stone reefs. The performed computer simulations gave answers to the questions: what will be the range of the suspension spreading, what will its concentration be, how long the moved fine fractions will remain suspended in the water column, will the suspension reach protected areas due to ecological conditions and natural values.

Another issue under consideration was the analysis and assessment of the impact of the Port of Gdynia investments on water resources in accordance with the requirements of the Water Framework Directive. The preparatory work also consisted in identifying the risks resulting from the construction and operation of the new pier in terms of various types of mishaps, failures, hazards or pollution, including explosions, the formation of a cloud of dangerous substances or the spill of petroleum substances.

“Much attention has been devoted to these issues in order to indicate what situations may arise and what is the likelihood of their emergence, the possibility of spreading, what their effects may be and how to combat them. Conducted, inter alia, a series of computer simulations with the use of specialized software, such as an oil pollution simulator, to illustrate the risks and determine what measures can be taken at the design stage to minimize the possibility of environmental pollution,” the press release explains.

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