British Ports Concerned by Government Clean Air Strategy
The British Ports Association are saddened by the Government’s new Clean Air Strategy. The policy includes requirements for all major ports in the UK to develop air quality plans within the next year.
UK Ports currently handle 95% of the UK’s trade and according to Mark Simmonds, Policy Manager at the British Ports Association
"Ports and shipping are part of the solution, not the problem."
The Clean Air Strategy, which aims to reduce the amount of pollution produced through freight trade including freight ferries, states that air pollution is the top environmental risk to human health in the UK and the fourth greatest threat to health in the UK, after cancer, heart disease and obesity.
The government has outlined a number of conduct restrictions for the shipping industry, which will improve the nation’s air quality.
These include -
- By Summer 2018 - the government will introduce a new government- led Clean Maritime Council to bring together different parts of the maritime sector to drive uptake of cleaner technologies and greener fuels.
- By March 2019 - the government will consult on options for new domestic regulations to reduce pollutant emissions from domestic ships. This could be through the application of international emission standards. They will also consult on options for extending the current Emissions Control Areas (ECAs) in UK waters.
- By May 2019 - all major UK ports to produce Air Quality Strategies setting out their plans to reduce emissions across the port estate including ship and shore activities. These plans will be reviewed periodically to establish if the measures implemented are effective or further government action is required.
The overall aim of the policy is to see Britain phase out fossil fuel only vehicles by 2040.
The new initiative will see port operations change drastically over the next few years with the possibility of less ships or reduced cargo in order to meet the governmental guidelines.
Mark Simmonds, Policy Manager at the British Ports Association, said:
“It is disappointing that the Government has missed the opportunity to promote shipping as the cleanest way to move freight.
“The industry is keen to play its part and work with Government on improving air quality, but this must be done holistically and using credible evidence.”
“In comparison with other transport modes shipping is an efficient and environmentally sustainable option. Utilising the UK’s hundreds of ports in supporting more coastal shipping has the potential to take thousands of lorries off of UK roads.
“This is a tight deadline, but many major ports will already be taking action on air quality, monitoring the sources or producing plans of action.”