December deadline for air quality strategy

Clean Air Strategy DEFRA's Clear Air Strategy 2019 says that ports will need to publish strategies to reduce emissions by the end of the year. Credit: DEFRA

The UK Government has said it will publish guidelines to advise ports on how to develop effective and targeted Air Quality Strategies by spring, with ports required to have their own strategies by the end of the year.

Outlined by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) Clean Air Strategy 2019, the strategies will set out plans to reduce emissions from ports and associated waterways, including emissions from shore activities and visiting ships.

“Following publication of the guidelines, ports within scope will be required to produce Air Quality Strategies by the end of 2019,” confirms the strategy paper.

The strategies and plans “must be able to reduce emissions while allowing trade to grow and ports to be competitive,” the Department stipulated. It added that in doing so these will be integrated with other policy areas for ports where relevant.

It notes that some ports have already developed a strategy, including Southampton and London.

Ensuring robust strategies

To make sure the guidelines are evidence-based and flexible enough to cater for the specific characteristics of each port, the government will engage with key stakeholders and relevant government departments before publication.

These plans will be reviewed periodically to establish if the measures implemented are effective or further government action is required.

The Department said government research is being carried out into the impact of international and transit shipping on local air pollution around ports.

“Globally, it is estimated that nearly 70% of ship emissions occur within 400km of the coast but within European waters there is greater proximity of emissions to the coast. An estimated 89% of North Sea ship emissions are within 50 nautical miles of the coast and 97% are within 100 nautical miles,” it noted.

Following on from the Maritime 2050 strategy, the Department is working with stakeholders to develop a Clean Maritime Plan by Spring 2019 and a Clean Maritime Council will devise a national strategy which includes improving air quality on and around waterways, ports and shipping lanes.

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