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Ports keen for clarity over Clean Air proposals

Port operators have called for more clarity on any potential proposals from government to tackle air pollution emissions from the maritime sector.

Within its Clean Air Strategy, published on Tuesday (22 May) government has pledged to tackle emissions from the shipping sector through a range of measures.

This includes consulting on new domestic regulations to reduce pollutant emissions from ships, and extending current Emissions Control Areas in UK waters (see airqualitynews.com story).

Ministers have also declared that by May 2019, all major ports should produce their own Air Quality Strategies, setting out their plans to reduce emissions ‘across the port estate, including ship and shore activities’.

Commenting on the strategy, Mark Simmonds, policy manager at the British Ports Association, said: “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.â€?

Deadline

And, commenting specifically on the prospect of Port Air Quality Plans, he said: “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.

“We are pleased that government has recognised that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to this. Measuring the sources of emissions is always difficult and Government should recognise that ports are often centres of major industry and logistics chains and do not usually have direct control over nearby emissions sources.â€?

Tim Morris, UK Major Ports Group

Tim Morris, chief executive of the UK Major Ports Group (UKMPG) – which represents nine of the UK’s largest port operators, also questioned the timetable set out within the government’s strategy.

He said: “Major Ports are committed to playing their part in tackling air quality issues, building on their good record of improvement initiatives. A number of ports and port operators already have air quality strategies or plans, as required by today’s draft Air Quality Strategy.

“We’ll be seeking to better understand why May 2019 has been imposed as a deadline and the interrelationship between the proposed extra powers for local authorities and ports within their regions. To support a better, more evidence led approach the UKMPG is commissioning expert third party research on ports and air quality.â€?

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