Experts on clean shipping met yesterday (15 October) to plot the route to zero emissions for the UK maritime sector on the first day ofÂ 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 UK waterways, ports and shipping lanes.
The government is clear on the need for action on emissions from shipping. â€œAir pollution is the fourth greatest threat to public health after cancer, heart disease and obesity,â€ the Department for Transport said.
And, in 2016, domestic shipping accounted for 11% of the countryâ€™s nitrogen oxide emissions, the department added.
According to DfT, the Council has an â€œimportant roleâ€ 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: â€œThe 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.
â€œThe Clean Maritime Plan will bring new opportunities for Britainâ€™s businesses to design, develop and sell green solutions to this global challenge.â€
The UK is already actively developing plans to reduce emissions from shipping, for example:
The UK also played a â€œleading roleâ€ at theÂ International Maritime Organization, according to DfT,Â in setting a global cap on sulphur emissions and establishing a new global target to cut shippingâ€™s greenhouse gases by at least 50% by 2050.
The environment is also one of the main strands of theÂ governmentâ€™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.
Green Great Britain Week is an annual environmental awareness campaign, which is taking place from 15-19 October. It isÂ designed to highlight the opportunities clean growth offers the UK.