Experts on clean shipping met today (Monday, October 15), to plot the route to zero emissions for the UK maritime sector on the first day of Green Great Britain Week.
Minister for Maritime Nusrat Ghani opened the first meeting of the Clean Maritime Council, which will devise a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the sector to improve air quality on and around our waterways, ports and shipping lanes.
The Government is clear on the need for action on emissions from shipping. Air pollution is the fourth greatest threat to public health after cancer, heart disease and obesity. In 2016, domestic shipping accounted for 11 per cent of the country’s nitrogen oxide emissions.
The council has an important role in addressing these issues, bringing together experts from across the maritime sector – from industry leaders developing greener vessels, to academics studying the economics of emission reduction.
Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “The UK maritime industry has a vital role in improving air quality on and around water, and Council members will be looking at innovative and practical ways to reduce emissions from the sector.
“The Clean Maritime Plan will bring new opportunities for Britain’s businesses to design, develop and sell green solutions to this global challenge.”
The UK is already actively developing plans to reduce emissions from shipping:
- Hybrid ferries using battery power alongside traditional engines are being used between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight and in Scotland
- Shore-side electricity is already in place at Portsmouth (MOD), Fraserburgh and Brodick to reduce engines running at ports
- Innovate UK is funding a project in Orkney to directly inject hydrogen into the fuel supply of a ferry
Baroness Bryony Worthington, Executive Director of Environmental Defense Fund Europe, said: “The UK has always been a proud maritime nation and with the launch of the Clean Maritime Council, has signaled its intention to lead the way in services, technology, fuels and research into zero emissions shipping. Environmental Defense Fund Europe are proud to be part of the Council and will work with the government to ensure the UK becomes synonymous with leadership in sustainable, future-proof shipping.”
The country also played a leading role at the International Maritime Organization in setting a global cap on sulphur emissions and establishing a new global target to cut shipping’s greenhouse gases by at least 50% by 2050. The Council further demonstrates the serious commitment we are making for the future of the sector, ensuring the UK can benefit from the global shift to zero-emission shipping.
The environment is also one of the main strands of the government’s Maritime 2050 strategy, a long term look at the opportunities for the sector for the next 30 years.
The Clean Maritime Plan will be published next year and will include policies to tackle emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from shipping, while ensuring the UK can reap the economic benefits of the global transition to zero emission shipping.