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Biodiversity Report

Biodiversity Report 2018 - 2020

CalMac Ferries Limited has prepared a Biodiversity Duty Report to demonstrate its commitment to conserve biodiversity whilst undertaking its operations as detailed within the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and to fulfil the reporting requirements of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 (WANE Act). As per the requirements of the WANE Act, this report will be made publicly available on the website and will be updated every three years.

Accessible version | Biodiversity Duty Report | 2018 - 2020

Welcome

This report has been prepared to demonstrate CalMac Ferries Ltd.'s commitment to conserve biodiversity whilst undertaking its operations as detailed within the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and to fulfil the reporting requirements of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 (WANE Act). As per the requirements of the WANE Act, this report will be made publicly available on the website and will be updated every three years.

Section 1: Introduction

CalMac Ferries Ltd (CalMac) is a lifeline service provider in the Clyde and Hebrides Regions and is part of the DNA of the Highlands and islands, embedded in the local community where it plays an integral part in the economic sustainability of the area's social and business life.

CalMac is committed to supporting the outcomes of the Scottish Government National Performance Framework (2019)[1] so that people value, enjoy, protect and enhance their environment. It will minimise impact on the marine and terrestrial environments in which it operates and wherever possible, enhance biodiversity and the quality of Scotland's natural environment for future generations to enjoy.

Through a public service contract with Transport Scotland CalMac operates 34 vessels, leased from the Scottish Government, across 30 routes between 56 ports throughout the West Coast of Scotland. It also leases two offices in Gourock. CalMac is one of the largest transport operators in Scotland: During the reporting period[2] CalMac has shipped over 3.5 million cars, 23,175 coaches, 211,998 Commercial vehicles, 1191 tonnes of freight and 13.2 million passengers. It is the largest ferry operator in the UK in terms of number of routes and vessels operated.

Despite the impacts of Covid-19 in 2020, the 2018 to 2020 reporting period has seen significant positive environmental developments within the company. Biodiversity and general environmental awareness are becoming increasingly more mainstream with improvements embedded in everyday operations.

Section 2: Actions to Protect Biodiversity and Connect People with Nature

Connecting People

CalMac fulfils a crucial role of connecting people with biodiversity, from staff and passengers to the local communities it serves:

·       13.2 million passengers (2018 - 2020).

·       Wildlife Officer position continued throughout the reporting period between March and October annually to actively engage with passengers.[3].[4]

·       Presentations, passenger engagement, transect surveys, social media posts and blog posts undertaken as part of the CalMac Ferries Marine Awareness Programme with support from the Wildlife Officer.

·       Video content created and supplied to local community schools by the Wildlife Officer during 2020 to help raise awareness and maintain levels of engagement.

·       Interpretive information installed onboard to assist with wildlife identification and provide information on biodiversity.

·       Volunteer Seabirds at Sea (VSAS) citizen science scheme established and run by Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) aboard CalMac vessels to gather scientific data across the network.

·       Marine Mammal citizen science surveys run by ORCA aboard CalMac vessels to monitor mammal populations.

Reducing Waste

CalMac has aligned its main environmental key performance indicators (KPIs) with Zero Waste Scotland[5]:

·       Appointed a full-time, permanent Waste Manager to minimise waste production, actively manage waste and change behaviour.

·       Completed a comprehensive waste review which identified total waste arisings, waste streams, recycling and segregation rates and contractual arrangements across the network.

·       Produced and implemented a Waste Management Action Plan (WMAP) (2018-2020) to target sites with poor waste segregation and recycling rates, to improve waste infrastructure and to renegotiate waste management contracts to divert waste from landfill.

·       Trialled alternative compostable packaging.

·       Streamlined waste segregation on vessels and in ports to encourage behaviour change and divert waste from landfill.

·       Improved recycling facilities and re-awarded waste management contracts to third parties to maximise recycling and recovery of waste.

·       Reduced single-use plastics by removing plastic straws, disposable milk portions, sauce sachets and disposable cups from retail outlets where possible.

Fuel Management

Reduction in fuel consumption has been a priority during the reporting period with a focus on increasing fuel efficiency.

·       Appointed a full-time Fuel Efficiency Manager to manage operational processes, identify and share examples of best practice across the organisation and change behaviours to maximise operational efficiency, minimise fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions.

·       Developed a Carbon Management Action Plan to understand the organisational carbon footprint, identify actions to reduce carbon emissions and monitor progress and emissions reduction

·       Implemented a fuel reporting system for all vessels to accurately report fuel consumption.

·       Undertook real-time reporting of fuel consumption to vessel Masters on its ten largest vessels.

Green Travel

In supporting the priorities of Transport Scotland's National Transport Strategy[6] CalMac has promoted sustainable travel options. Actions delivered include: 

·       Promotion of Green Travel to passengers through End to End Journey planning tools on the website.

·       Encouraged other forms of Green Travel such as the use of electric vehicles and plug in facilities and promoted these through the website.

·       Encouraged active travel for both business and leisure and developed the bicycle carriage policy in anticipation of increased uptake.

·       Created awareness of Green Travel options through internal and external communications and the website.

·       Focussed on reducing business miles travelled and where possible use of low or zero carbon travel options.

·       Established an annual baseline business miles figure in April 2020 with quarterly reporting in place to allow for reduction targets to be set and progress to be monitored going forward.

Control of Non-native Invasive Species

The control and removal of non-native species around Western Scotland is cause for action and CalMac has built on previous initiatives to minimise the impact of invasive non-native species (INNS) in and around its ports and routes.

·       Undertook a desk review of INNS and operations to ensure that adequate controls are in place to prevent any negative impact on biodiversity.

·       Produced port biosecurity plans to identify the controls required to minimise the spread of INNS.

·       Increased frequency of port monitoring assessments for INNS.

·       Increased staff and public awareness of INNS on vessels, in harbours and around local communities leading to increased diligence.

Habitat & Species Protection & Habitat Creation

Further to the completion of the Biodiversity Action Plan 2017, biodiversity initiatives have been expanded and the biodiversity baseline been calculated.

·       Undertook quantitative biodiversity baseline assessment and calculations to provide baseline figures for Biodiversity Net Gain[7] assessment in the future.

·       Developed Port Biodiversity Management Plans to enhance biodiversity.

·       Planned introduction of native species and removal of non-native species at ports.

·       Identified cutting regimes and habitat management options to enhance biodiversity through land management where possible.

·       Increased diligence with regard to INNS and assessed their potential impact on native biodiversity.

Case study

CalMac has worked with NatureScot Rangers and RSPB Biosecurity for Life to prevent the spread of rodents on breeding bird islands such as Canna.  CalMac carefully monitors for pests and has implemented pest control on board and in ports to minimise the risk of spreading pests to vulnerable locations.  Routes have been carefully designed to ensure that cargo is only carried on return legs back to the mainland and crew routinely monitor and restrict cargo such as waste skips if rodents are seen .  These actions significantly assist in helping to protect the internationally important colonies of species such as Manx Shearwater that breed on the islands CalMac serves in the Hebrides.

 

Office Changes

Environmental efficiency of offices remains a priority concern:

·       Offices in Gourock continue to operate although with increased home-working, especially during 2020. The Fort William shop was closed in 2019.

·       Streamlined waste segregation within the office to divert waste from landfill.

·       Improved recycling facilities to maximise recycling rates. 

·       Reduced electricity usage through changed lighting.

·       Reduced number of electrical appliances within the office to minimise consumption.

·       Upgraded office facilities and lighting throughout main Support Services office including increasing meeting space to reduce travel to offsite meeting locations.

 

Section 3: Mainstreaming Biodiversity

Since 2018, the concept of biodiversity and how ferry and port operations may positively or negatively impact it continues to be further embedded in the CalMac Environmental vision:

"To provide a resilient and environmentally sustainable service in a changing climate to support the economic growth of our communities."

CalMac has embedded its environmental policies and strategies within its business plan which is subsequently cascaded through all operational activities, employees and suppliers to positively influence both its performance and passengers. It monitors progress against targets and plans and reports actions on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

Building on the Environmental Management System (EMS) and ISO 14001:2015 accreditation, 'higher impact' operations have been investigated and monitored to better understand and improve energy and fuel usage and waste production An Environmental Strategy (2018-2020) was developed during the reporting period to identify key actions for performance improvement and key environmental performance indicators to measure progress.

In conjunction with the Carbon Trust, CalMac has developed a Carbon Management Action Plan (2018), the outcomes of which have already proved successful in reducing carbon emissions through reduced fuel, electricity and gas use. Vessel Masters are able to monitor real-time fuel usage on each of the sailings which allows them to adjust the sailing to maximise efficiency.

A comprehensive review of waste was undertaken and the WAMP (2018 - 2020) was developed to minimise waste, improve waste segregation and increase reuse and recycling in day to day operations for staff and passengers. Waste management actions were designed in conjunction with both internal and external stakeholders and multiple waste contracts were revised and awarded to external waste contractors. CalMac has signed up to the Prince's Trust 'Waste to Wealth Commitment'[8], part of the 'Prince's Responsible Business Network' [9]to help embed Circular Economy[10] principles into its daily operations.

In addition to the management plans for carbon emissions and waste improvements, plans for controlling the spread of INNS, improving biodiversity at CalMac operated ports, and mitigating and adapting to climate change are now being actioned across the network. From vessel crews to disposal of passenger food waste, and routine port and office activities to passenger experience, CalMac is embracing a cultural shift by adopting more environmentally sound practices.  

 

Section 4: Nature-Based Solutions, Climate Change and Biodiversity

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as "actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits."[11]

CalMac has positively contributed to protecting biodiversity to help build a resilient environment for the future. It monitors its operational activities, minimises its waste management and fuel consumption and actions processes to reduce its impact on the environment and biodiversity.

Using data-based methods, CalMac can inform and action both immediate and long-lasting decisions for the benefit of biodiversity and climate. Many of its data sets are also freely available for other organisations to utilise, for example, marine mammal and seabird sightings have been used to support the West of Scotland Marine Protected Area proposals, with the deep-sea marine reserve being designated by Scottish Ministers in September 2020[12].

Improvements to habitats continue to be made to the ports that CalMac has influence over, with action taken to support Scottish Governments Pollinator Strategy for Scotland 2017 - 2027[13] through creation or enhancement of pollinator habitats across the ports.

The production of the Climate Change Risk and Adaptation Plan (2020) helped to further support the primary focus of maintaining resilient operations in an environmentally sustainable manner.  A detailed analysis of the potential impacts of predicted climate change on the company identified the risk of increased weather disruption which could negatively impact service delivery levels..  The initial actions developed within the Adaptation Plan to manage risk will be integrated into the next Environmental Strategy and Business Plan to be implemented over the next reporting period.

 

Improving access to nature

Green travel plans available on the CalMac website promote use of public transport that links with the ferry timetables. The website also provides ideas of 'things to do', including nature-based activities for all the destinations CalMac operates, such as the 'Whale Trail' in association with the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust[14].

Through the Marine Awareness Programme and the Wildlife Officer, CalMac can engage with staff and passengers alike, share knowledge about the marine environment and encourage better awareness of some of the pressures these habitats are under, as well as encouraging greater enjoyment of the natural world.

 

 

Section 5: Public Engagement and Workforce Development

Stakeholder Engagement

CalMac has continued to actively participate in the Chamber of Shipping, British Ports Association and the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership (CMPP) to ensure that it is fully informed on Marine Policy and Strategy. CalMac also contributed to the CMPP Shipping and Associated Infrastructure Working Group, ensuring that its operations align with future policy for the Clyde Region.

CalMac's Marine Awareness Programme aims to raise the profile of the marine environment in the West of Scotland.  During the reporting period, the programme has evolved from its original remit of conducting sea bird and marine mammal surveys through citizen science to underpinning CalMac's wider commitment to engage, educate and connect people with nature. The Programme has expanded its reach, not only to the public who travel with CalMac, but also to CalMac staff, the local communities that CalMac ferries service and additional non-governmental organisations.

CalMac's Marine Awareness Programme Partners & Reach:

Marine Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, ORCA, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, British Trust for Ornithology, MARINElife, Scottish Association for Marine Science, Argyll and Bute Council and The Highland Council, Community of Arran Seabed Trust, Field Studies Council Millport, Sea Watch Foundation, Beachwatch Bute, SCRAPbook, Sunnyside Primary Ocean Defenders, Upstream Battle, and all passengers using CalMac ferries.

 

Workforce Development

CalMac has continued to participate in ORCAs nine-day OceanWatch[15] event on board six of its vessels. Training provided by ORCA allowed crew to monitor and record marine megafauna sightings during passage in a scientific manner. The data will be used by ORCA and the Sea Watch Foundation to help understand animal populations and ultimately, to help protect those species.  

In 2017, ORCA provided training in marine mammal identification and survey techniques to CalMac staff from all levels and departments across the network. In addition to this, an environmental awareness video has been developed and made available to all employees as part of learning and development.

Over the reporting period the environmental team have significantly increased the amount of online resources available for staff, providing guidance on complying with environmental legislation, and other policies and action plans that are being implemented, through the company management system portal.

 

Public Engagement

For three consecutive years CalMac has contracted a Wildlife Officer through ORCA to deliver public education on board vessels and throughout the CalMac network. The Wildlife Officer has engaged many passengers, pointing out marine megafauna and educating in identification and marine issues. They have adopted ORCAs Observation Protocol to record marine mammal sightings, the data from which feeds into a wider analysis of marine megafauna abundance and distribution. The Wildlife Officer has also visited and given online presentations to local schools, conservation organisations and charity groups.

Through the Marine Awareness Programme JNCC undertook a pilot project in 2018 to assess the feasibility of recruiting and training volunteers to collect high quality seabirds at sea data from the CalMac ferries route network. This proved a success and through this work the Volunteer Seabirds at Sea (VSAS) scheme was born. Surveys commenced in 2019. The primary aim of the programme is to build a long-term dataset that has the power to detect trends in the abundance and distribution of seabirds at sea.

Volunteers for the seabird and marine mammal surveys have been trained by ORCA and JNCC and come from a pool of members of the public and stakeholder employees including CalMac employees.

CalMac has made a commitment to support local organisations or events each year. The application process for this has recently been reviewed to ensure that the biodiversity and environmental impact of the project or event is considered and is integral to the running of the event, before any support is given by CalMac. A completion report is required to show evidence of success.

Partnership projects have included support from the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (CoAST) and the Field Studies Council Millport to create an education area on the MV Caledonian Isles and MV Lord of the Isles ferries that service the Isle of Arran, Uist and the Isle of Skye. CalMac has also helped with the segregation and disposal of litter collected through various local beach cleans. 

Promotion of CalMac's Marine Awareness Programme and associated activities has been publicised through the company's website and social media platforms, blogs and newsletters, a format that has become increasingly important during 2020 to allow continuation of its high level of public engagement. 

 

Section 6: Research and Monitoring

In this reporting period, CalMac has substantially expanded its monitoring capacity to understand and quantify any potential impacts on biodiversity. In turn, this has allowed the organisation to assess and measure improvements across its operations against an accurate baseline which can provide positive benefits for biodiversity.

The addition of a dedicated Waste Manager to the CalMac Environmental team has been instrumental in creating an accurate baseline of the various waste production streams. Furthermore, the reallocation of waste contracts has allowed for the accurate measuring of waste, monitoring of recycling rates and understanding of the quantity of waste still sent to landfill.

Similarly, the addition of the fuel reporting system has helped manage fuel consumption on all vessels and raised awareness of fuel efficiency across the organisation. The data gathered by the fuel management system is used to inform decision making in areas such as procurement, vessel upgrades, maintenance priorities and network deployments. Electricity consumption monitored within the offices has shown that actions taken to date to reduce its usage have proved successful. Using the comprehensive data set gathered for its first Streamlined Energy and Carbon Report, CalMac can demonstrate that these measures have contributed to the exceedance of its2017 target of a 5% reduction in relative carbon footprint by 2019 when compared to 2015/2016 baseline. The target was hit six months early and a target for a further 2.5% reduction was set for delivery by March 2020.  A baseline for business travel mileage has been established and on-site heavy plant machinery fuel-usage is currently being compiled.

Meters to monitor water usage are in the process of being installed across the network. Once this has been completed and baseline usage compiled, a plan to streamline water use will be developed.  

CalMac continues to monitor marine mammals and megafauna through OceanWatch and Wildlife Officer activities and the success of the VSAS surveys means that seabirds will now also be regularly monitored to establish abundance and distribution. During 2019, 4592 individual seabirds of 25 species were logged over 2080km of VSAS surveys. The VSAS surveys also recorded 155 marine mammals of six species.

Monitoring for INNS has increased in regularity and forms part of routine port infrastructure inspections.

Results of all monitoring activities are reported internally on either a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.

 

Section 7: Biodiversity Highlights and Challenges

The standout highlight for this reporting period is exceeding the internally set 2019 target of a 5% reduction in relative carbon footprint when compared to the 2015/2016 baseline.  CalMac is committed to a further 2% reduction year on year for the next three years.

"Improvements in the understanding and management of energy usage has allowed a continued year on year reduction in fuel, gas and electricity consumption across operations."

Another key highlight is the expansion of biodiversity and environmental targets embedded within the CalMac business plan. The efforts made to understand the full breadth of its environmental impact and subsequent action plans have been vital in helping the business progress in a more sustainable manner.

The Marine Awareness Programme continues to forge new and prospering partnerships with a variety of key stakeholders, with the initiation and continuation of the seabird and marine mammal surveys and positive feedback for the Wildlife Officer role being major highlights.

The most obvious challenge in the reporting period is the impact of Covid-19 to all aspects of operations. Reduced staff and passenger numbers, changing procedures to protect staff and passengers, and reduced capacity of third-party contractors have all had major impacts on the business. The sea bird and marine mammal surveys were not able to proceed in 2020 and the Wildlife Officer did not have the opportunity to directly engage passengers and local communities. However, this time was utilised in building internal resources of training and awareness materials accessible to all staff through the CalMac website. It is hoped that surveys and passenger engagement will resume in 2021 and the feasibility of the expanding the survey period from spring and summer months to become year-round surveys is being explored.

CalMac is investing in a sustainable future with the employment of key environmental roles being excellent examples of this. However, wider external support and funding continues to be a challenge, and this is expected to continue over the next reporting period.

Extreme winter storms in early 2020 posed a challenge to operations. A short-term increase in fuel usage was noted during this period. It is possible that extreme weather events may become more frequent in the future with climate change, and CalMac is looking at ways to adapt operations to improve resilience through its Climate Change and Risk Adaptation Plan.

Despite the challenges faced in 2020, CalMac is hopeful that progress with the implementation of the new management and action plans will continue during the next reporting period.

 

Targets/Key Steps from the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, as outlined in 'The Biodiversity Duty Explained[16]'

CalMac Contribution

Chapter 1: Healthy Ecosystems

 

(1.2) Use assessments of ecosystem health at a catchment level to determine what needs to be done.

CalMac Ferries Marine Awareness Programme:

Sea Bird and marine mammal surveys

Biodiversity Services: Biodiversity Baseline and Management Prescriptions for Harbours

 

(1.3) Government and public bodies, including SNH, SEPA and FCS, will work together towards a shared agenda for action to restore ecosystem health at a catchment-scale across Scotland.

CalMac Ferries Marine Awareness Programme

ORCA OceanWatch

Clyde Marine Planning Partnership

Chamber of Shipping

British Ports Association

Chapter 3: Biodiversity, Health and Quality of Life

 

(3.1) Provide opportunities for everyone to experience and enjoy nature regularly, with a focus on disadvantaged groups.

Public engagement

Green Travel Plans for each destination on calmac.co.uk

Wildlife Officer on board

 

(3.2) Support local authorities and communities to improve local environments and enhance biodiversity using green space and green networks, allowing nature to flourish and so enhancing the quality of life for people who live there.

Habitat and species protection and habitat creation

Waste reduction & reassessment of contractors

Support for beach cleans

(3.3) Build on good practice being developed by the National Health Service (NHS) and others to help encourage greenspace, green exercise and social prescribing initiatives that will improve health and wellbeing through connecting people with nature.

Green Travel Plans for every destination on calmac.co.uk

Wildlife Officer engagement

(3.4) Increase access to nature within and close to schools, and support teachers in developing the role of outdoor learning across the Curriculum for Excellence.

Public engagement

Wildlife Officer on board

Wildlife Officer School visits

(3.5) Encourage public organisations and businesses to review their responsibilities and action for biodiversity and recognise that increasing their positive contribution to nature and landscapes can help meet their corporate priorities and performance.

Environmental Champions Group Sustainable Procurement

Locally sourced produce

Waste contracts reassessed

Updated process for applications of support/donations

 

Chapter 4: Wildlife, Habitats and Protected Places

 

(4.3) Integrate protected areas policy with action for wider habitats to combat fragmentation and restore key habitats.

Biodiversity Action Plan

Habitat and species protection and habitat creation

 

(4.4) Develop a wildlife management framework to address the key priorities for sustainable species management, conservation and conflict issues, including reintroductions and invasive non-native species.

Biodiversity Action Plan

Control of invasive non-native species

Biodiversity Services: Biodiversity Baseline and Management Prescriptions for Harbours

 

 

(4.5) Involve many more people than at present in this work and improve understanding of the poorly known elements of nature.

Public engagement

Wildlife Officer on board

Environmental Awareness Training video

Staff engagement during national awareness weeks such as Climate Week and Recycle Week

Chapter 5: Land and Freshwater Management

 

(5.4) Put in place the management necessary to bring Scotland's protected areas into favourable condition and improve the ecological status of water bodies.

Control of invasive non-native species

Beach cleans/port litter picks

 

(5.6) Restore and extend natural habitats as a means of building reserves of carbon and to help mitigate climate change.

Habitat and species protection and habitat creation

 

Chapter 6: Marine and Coastal

 

(6.3) Collate information on the location and sensitivity of priority marine features and make this information available to support their protection.

Sea bird and marine mammal surveys

(6.4) Achieve good environmental status for Scottish seas.

Biodiversity Action Plan

Beach cleans/port litter picks

Control of invasive non-native species

Clyde Marine Planning Partnership

CalMac Ferries Marine Awareness Programme

(6.7) Improve the monitoring of the marine environment to identify changes and guide progress towards the above outcomes.

Sea bird and marine mammal surveys

ORCA OceanWatch

(6.8) Improve understanding of how coastal ecosystems are likely to adapt to climate change and develop appropriate strategies for coastal zone management.

Climate Change Risk and Adaptation: Risk Assessment and Adaptation Plan

 

 

 

 


 

[1] https://nationalperformance.gov.scot/

[2] Statistics from 1st January 2018 to 12th October 2020.

[3]  Restricted access to vessels during 2020 season due to COVID.

[4]  Restricted access to vessels during 2020 season due to COVID.

[5] https://www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/strategy-plan/2010/06/scotlands-zero-waste-plan/documents/00458945-pdf/00458945-pdf/govscot%3Adocument/00458945.pdf

[6] https://www.transport.gov.scot/our-approach/national-transport-strategy/

[7] The concept of enhancing biodiversity during the period of site operation so that it is in a better condition than when you started. https://www.biodiversityinplanning.org/news/bd-net-gain/

[8] https://www.bitc.org.uk/fact-sheet/the-waste-to-wealth-commitment/

[9] https://www.bitc.org.uk/

[10] An economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. https://www.gov.scot/publications/making-things-last-circular-economy-strategy-scotland/

[11] Accessed via: https://www.iucn.org/theme/nature-based-solutions. Accessed on 08 Oct 2020.

[12] https://www.gov.scot/policies/marine-environment/marine-protected-areas/

[13] https://www.nature.scot/pollinator-strategy-scotland-2017-2027

[14] https://hwdt.org/the-hebridean-whale-trail

[15] https://www.orcaweb.org.uk/our-work/orca-oceanwatch

 


Previous - Biodiversity Report 2015 - 2017

 


Accessible version | Biodiversity Duty Report | 2015 - 2017

Welcome

This report has been prepared to demonstrate CalMac Ferries Ltd's commitment to conserve biodiversity whilst undertaking its operations as detailed within the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and to fulfil the reporting requirements of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 (WANE Act). As per the requirements of the WANE Act, this report will be made publicly available on the website and will be updated every three years.

Introduction

CalMac Ferries Ltd (CalMac) is a lifeline service provider in the Clyde and Hebrides Regions and is part of the DNA of the Highlands and islands, embedded in the local community where it plays an integral part in the economic sustainability of the area's social and business life.

It is committed to supporting the aims of Scottish Government to provide a wealthier and fairer, smarter, healthier, safer and stronger, and greener Scotland. It will minimise impact on the marine and terrestrial environments in which it operates and wherever possible, enhance biodiversity and the quality of Scotland's natural environment for future generations to enjoy.

CalMac operates 26 harbours and 33 vessels across the West Coast of Scotland. It also leases offices in Gourock and a tour shop in Fort William. CalMac is one of the largest transport operators in Scotland and carried over 5 million passengers in 2016. It is the UK's largest ferry operator in terms of routes and vessels operated.

The 2015 to 2017 period was a time of significant change and development for CalMac with the successful bid for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract from Transport Scotland and the Harbour Operating Agreement from Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL) in 2016. During this time it updated its Environmental Management System (EMS) and achieved ISO 14001:2015 accreditation. 2017 has seen further development of the EMS with the creation of an Environmental Management Plan and an Ecology Management Plan, both of which embed environmental protection and biodiversity enhancement within the organisation.

Additionally, during the reporting period, CalMac has recruited both a Corporate Social Responsibility Manager and an Environmental Manager to ensure that its legal obligations are met and that the organisation is able to develop in a proactive and responsible manner.

Mainstreaming

Biodiversity measures have increasingly been incorporated into policy and procedure during the reporting period. During 2015 the EMS was regularly updated to ensure that all environmental aspects and impacts from across the organisation were identified and controlled.

In late 2016, its first Procurement Strategy was released, which details how sustainability is to be embedded within all the products and services that CalMac procure. This strategy aligns with Scottish Government's Model of Procurement with a specific objective to protect and wherever possible, enhance biodiversity.

CalMac has developed an Environmental Management Plan which outlines the steps required to improve and monitor environmental performance; a key element of this plan is to manage any potential impacts on biodiversity and wherever possible, to enhance biodiversity. The Environmental Management Plan supported the upgrading of the EMS to ISO 14001:2015 and has been shared internally to all employees via our intranet system, Gangway.

During 2017, CalMac developed an Ecology Management Plan which highlights the current understanding of biodiversity at managed sites and identifies potential positive and negative impacts on biodiversity. Within the Ecology Management Plan, CalMac identified the following key vision

By 2020 CalMac Ferries Ltd will have protected and enhanced existing biodiversity across the network through sustainable management and adapting to change; and continuing to provide environmental services and benefits for the passengers and communities that it supports. In late 2017, a Biodiversity Action Plan (2017-2020) was developed to support the vision to protect and enhance biodiversity.

Actions

Litter Management

Litter management around harbours is essential for the effective operation of ferry services; it routinely maintains its harbours to ensure that they are free from litter and debris which may cause harm to the environment and biodiversity. As an organisation it is especially concerned about marine litter and has regularly contributed to community beach cleans across the network.

These include:

  • Ensuring that its sites on the Isle of Mull regularly clear rubbish from both the port and foreshore area to ensure that this area is free from debris. These areas are especially known for their breeding otters therefore it takes care to ensure that their habitat is kept litter free wherever possible.

  • On the island of Coll in the Inner Hebrides, CalMac employees have worked in conjunction with the local school, RSPB and Recycoll to ensure that the local beaches are clean, tidy and safe for both biodiversity and visitors.

  • Volunteers from Support Services, based in Gourock, undertook two organised beach cleans at nearby Lunderston Bay during 2016, on both occasions almost 50kg of waste was collected.

 

Engagement

With over 5 million passengers a year, ferries are an ideal platform for biodiversity engagement. In 2015 the North Ayrshire Branch of the RSBP provided free wildlife spotting information on the MV Caledonian Isles, which services the Isle of Arran, for the summer holiday season.

In 2017, CalMac hosted Wildlife Officers from both ORCA and Whale and Dolphin Conservation to undertake engagement on its vessels. Passengers were able to learn how to identify marine mammals and understand more about their behaviour. The engagement sessions were extremely well received.

 

Habitat and Species Protection 

CalMac operates in some of Scotland's most diverse waters and interacts with more than 10 designated areas on a daily basis. It is careful to ensure that it does not impact on biodiversity and does all that it can to protect any individuals that decide to breed on its infrastructure.

Black Guillemots are a common sight around much of the network and breeding pairs have been known to use pier structures as their homes. An established pair of Guillemots have been nesting on the current forward round-head at Brodick for a number of years and during the new terminal development and in daily operation, the company has taken care to avoid disturbance and have regularly monitored their presence and behaviour.

 

Habitat Creation

Many of the sites that it manages are very small and often consist of roads, slipways and parking. The opportunity to create habitat can often be limited, however both Castlebay and Lochboisdale harbours have created new habitat by installing planters filled with peat-free compost and pollinator-friendly flowers.

 

Control of Non-Native Species

CalMac is conscious that ferries can unintentionally spread non-native species which can be problematic for local biodiversity. All ferries have routine maintenance schedules which involve hull cleaning to remove any potentially harmful organisms but this is only undertaken by qualified professionals using Government approved chemicals.

Pest control is carried out on board most of its vessels to prevent the spread of rats around the remote destinations that they visit. Pest control contracts are in place at all our major harbour and office locations to reduce rat numbers. During recent internal and external building refurbishment at Wemyss Bay, all timber was replaced resulting in the exclusion of rats which had been nesting within the building structure.

 

Waste Management

CalMac is working towards aligning itself with Scottish Government targets for waste, with 75% recycled or recovered and less than 5% to landfill. During the reporting period, recycling rates have typically been significantly lower than the target for a number of reasons including lack of suitable local waste recycling facilities, cost and poor infrastructure.

Recycling bins are now available in every office location with recycling contracts established with Local Authorities or private contractors. The company is working to roll out recycling to all vessels and harbour locations and has recently employed a temporary Waste Manager to review waste management procedures and infrastructure.

It has established a food waste stream on the MV Caledonian Isles (Ardrossan to Brodick) and is now regularly removing food waste from the general waste stream for composting.

All waste food oil is collected by national and local contractors for the production of biodiesel.

 

Fuel Management

CalMac is fortunate to operate three diesel/battery hybrid vessels which can achieve fuel savings of almost

30% when compared to a standard equivalent vessel.

It has installed an engine monitoring system on 10 of the largest vessels it operates, to collect real time data from the main engines and provides the Master with a visual representation of fuel combustion. CalMac believes that the system has realised fuel savings on many vessels by encouraging behaviour change and efficiency and is aiming for a 5% fuel reduction by 2019.

 

Office Changes

During the reporting period it has rationalised IT equipment in Support Services, Gourock. Prior to 2016 it had 56 devices (printers, faxes, photocopiers), which was reduced to 12 energy-efficient multi-functional devices which use personal accounts to eliminate paper wastage. It now uses recycled, sustainably sourced, paper as standard across all our office locations.

During 2017, a programme to upgrade lighting started in the Gourock office and to date LED lighting has been installed in the main corridor plus one office. Hand dryers have also been upgraded in most toilets to replace out-dated low efficiency dryers or paper hand towels.

We now use recycled, sustainably sourced, paper as standard across all our office locations.

 

Travel

In 2017 Green Travel Plans were developed for all the destinations it services and made them publicly available on the web. The company hopes that the information it provides will encourage more passengers to travel without a private car.

Partnership working & communications

CalMac have been working hard to develop positive working relationships with a number of stakeholders during the reporting period to deliver biodiversity enhancement across the network.

 

Stakeholder Engagement

CalMac is an active partner in the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership and is a key stakeholder in the development of the Clyde Marine Plan. It regularly participates in Partnership meetings and recently took part in a sector specific workshop starting to develop policy for the Clyde Region.

It regularly attends the Marine Strategy Forum, Chamber of Shipping and all-party Parliamentary Environment Group to ensure that it engages with key stakeholders and is fully informed of stakeholder developments within the wider marine environments of Scotland and the UK.

 

Communication

CalMac communicates its biodiversity duty performance internally using a number of forums, including its own internal publications Horizon and Safety First, which are made available to every employee. It also makes use of Internal Communication emails which every employee receives. The company intranet, Gangway, is used to share highlights and important documents such as the Ecology Management Plan and Biodiversity Action Plan.

Formal external communication is usually in the form of Press Releases however it also regularly speaks at conferences, events and public meeting which it may use as an avenue for communicating biodiversity duty performance.

 

Oceanwatch

In 2015, CalMac started to build a relationship with ORCA, a marine mammal charity, which undertakes monitoring from ferries across Europe. During each year of the reporting period CalMac has participated in OceanWatch, a 9-day event where Bridge crew undertake marine mammal surveys during passage. In

2015 it had three vessels contributing and observing 50 animals; by 2017 six vessels took part and 350 animals were observed. The data from OceanWatch is used by ORCA to understand mammal populations in European waters.

 

Training

Bridge crews taking part in OceanWatch have received annual training in the form of on-vessel training and self-taught training packages delivered by ORCA. The training has allowed crews to correctly identify marine mammals and record their presence in a scientifically accurate manner to allow the data to be used for research purposes.

In late 2017, ORCA provided CalMac employees from across the entire organisation, a full day training course to allow delegates to identify marine mammals, understand survey techniques and data recording and learn about marine mammal behaviour. The training course was attended by employees from all levels of the organisation and from support services, shore and vessel staff. It is hoped that employees who have received training will participate in one or more of the marine mammal surveys scheduled for 2018 and beyond.

 

Marine Awareness Programme 

In early 2016 CalMac commissioned a report, co-authored and compiled by MacArthur Green and academic specialists from the University of the West of Scotland, to look at some of the possible scenarios and future developments which could take place across Argyll and Clyde's coastline and seas in the next 25 years and beyond. This report sets out the opportunities and threats which could prevail within different marine sectors, as well as seeking to inspire a collaborative and positive approach, which was welcomed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

During 2016 closer relationships were developed with SNH and Marine Scotland to understand how CalMac could assist them in the delivery of the National Marine Plan. CalMac worked with both organisations to develop a Citizen Science programme designed to deliver monitoring of the Clyde, Minches and Hebrides seas using CalMac vessels as a platform for surveys.

The scope of the project developed as additional stakeholders became involved until, in early 2017, it was determined that the project would initially be used for the monitoring of marine mammals and marine birds.

During 2017, marine mammal survey pilots were undertaken on four CalMac routes and were all determined suitable for full scale surveys in 2018. Marine bird survey pilots have been scheduled for early 2018. Volunteers for the early surveys have been trained by ORCA and JNCC and come from a pool of members of the public and stakeholder employees including CalMac employees.

Stakeholders currently involved in the CalMac Marine Awareness Programme include Marine Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, ORCA, RSPB, British Trust for Ornithology, Argyll Bird Group, MARINElife, The Institute for Effective Education, British Science Association, Wave Action, Scottish Association for Marine Science, Argyll and Bute Council and The Highland Council.

 

Highlights & challenges

One of the highlights for the reporting period is the development of the CalMac Marine Awareness

Programme and the closer links the company now has with a number of key stakeholders. The project should allow for significant biodiversity benefit in future years whilst offering significant opportunities for both staff and public engagement. The take-up of the ORCA-led Marine Mammal Surveyor training course in 2017 already demonstrates how this project has started to raise interest and awareness.

Another key highlight for the reporting period is the development of the Biodiversity Action Plan which provides a clear pathway to protecting and enhancing biodiversity in future years. Over the next three years CalMac aims to see significant improvement in resource efficiency with reductions in fuel consumption, energy and waste plus an increased level of recycling and waste segregation across the network.

It also aims to increase the amount of public engagement on its vessels, utilising the close relationships it has built with stakeholders in the CalMac Marine Awareness Programme, and will start to assess the plan's effectiveness through routine audit and inspection programmes. A key aim for the next reporting period will be to engage with communities across the network to assist in the delivery of local biodiversity projects.

It is hopeful that progress with the implementation of our Biodiversity Action Plan will continue during the next reporting period.

It anticipates that there will be economic and resource pressures which will challenge the delivery of its commitments however, it will continue to focus on small gains and build on relationships with stakeholders to maximise biodiversity protection and improvement opportunities across the entire network.

Over the next three years CalMac aims to see significant improvement in resource efficiency with reductions in fuel consumption, energy and waste plus an increased level of recycling and waste segregation across the network.

 

Monitoring

CalMac actively monitors marine mammal observations during OceanWatch and some vessels also report sightings throughout the year using the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust Whale Track App. In the rare event that it identifies breeding birds on board its vessels, it will report this to the BTO. It monitors fuel consumption, energy usage, waste production, water consumption plus consumable usage however, trends have not yet been analysed.

It intends to actively monitor biodiversity by undertaking biodiversity condition assessments for all sites that it operates using the baseline data gathered during site surveys 2017; the condition assessment will provide a quantitative baseline with which biodiversity net gain can be measured over forthcoming years. Biodiversity protection and enhancement will also be routinely measured during our annual site inspections and audits as part of the maintenance of our Environmental Management System.

 

Contribution to targets

Targets/key steps

Contribution to key step?

Justification

Chapter 1 (Healthy ecosystems) of the "2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity"

(1.2) Use assessments of ecosystem health at a catchment level to determine what needs to be done

ü

CalMac Marine Awareness Programme

(1.3) Government and public bodies, including SNH, SEPA and FCS, will work together towards a shared agenda for action to restore ecosystem health at a catchment-scale across Scotland

ü

CalMac Marine Awareness Programme

Chapter 3 (Biodiversity, health and quality of life) of the "2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity"

(3.1) Provide opportunities for everyone to experience and enjoy nature regularly, with a particular focus on disadvantaged groups

ü

Public engagement
Green Travel Plans for each destination on calmac.co.uk

(3.2) Support local authorities and communities to improve local environments and enhance biodiversity using green space and green networks, allowing nature to flourish and so enhancing the quality of life for people who live there

ü

Habitat creation

(3.3) Build on good practice being developed by the National Health Service (NHS) and others to help encourage greenspace, green exercise and social prescribing initiatives that will improve health and wellbeing through connecting people with nature

ü

Green Travel Plans for every destination on calmac.co.uk

(3.4) Increase access to nature within and close to schools, and support teachers in developing the role of outdoor learning across the Curriculum for Excellence

ü

Public engagement

(3.5) Encourage public organisations and businesses to review their responsibilities and action for biodiversity, and recognise that increasing their positive contribution to nature and landscapes can help meet their corporate priorities and performance

ü

Environmental Champions Group
Sustainable Procurement
Locally sourced produce

Chapter 4 (Wildlife, habitats and protected places) of the "2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity"

(4.3) Integrate protected areas policy with action for wider habitats to combat fragmentation and restore key habitats

ü

Ecology Management Plan
Biodiversity Action Plan

(4.5) Involve many more people than at present in this work and improve understanding of the poorly known elements of nature

ü

Public engagement

Chapter 5 (Land and freshwater management) of the "2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity"

(5.4) Put in place the management necessary to bring Scotland's protected areas into favourable condition and improve the ecological status of water bodies

ü

Control of invasive non-native species

(5.6) Restore and extend natural habitats as a means of building reserves of carbon and to help mitigate climate change

ü

Habitat creation

Chapter 6 (Marine and coastal) of the "2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity"

(6.4) Achieve good environmental status for Scottish seas

ü

Beach cleans
Clyde Marine Planning Partnership
Marine Strategy Forum
CalMac Marine Awareness Programme

 

List for Biodiversity Report

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