The UK government on Thursday (11 July) said all new ships ordered from 2025 and aimed for its waters must be equipped with zero emission technology, as part of a new plan to cut maritime pollution.
Britain last month announced a target to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, making it the first among the major G7 countries to set such a goal. It also backs an EU-wide plan to aim for the same target.
As part of a new “Clean Maritime Plan” unveiled on Thursday, the government said ships ordered from 2025 onwards must have zero-emission capabilities. Such vessels usually can be powered by batteries or biofuels, for example, and maintain a fossil fuel alternative as a back up.
“The government is also looking at ways to incentivise the transition to zero-emission shipping and will consult on this next year,” the British transport department said.
It said a £1 million competition had been launched to find news ways to cut maritime emissions.
Research included in the plan suggests the global market for maritime emission reduction technologies could reach as much as £11bn a year by 2050, potentially resulting in annual economic benefits of £510m to the UK, the government added.
The government also said it would consider introducing both medium and long-term national targets for the shipping sector to cut greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution “towards zero”.
As part of its 2050 net-zero pledge, Westminster was advised by an independent climate change advisory body to include shipping and aviation in its emission-busting efforts. The government is “considering” that particular recommendation.
Britain’s maritime sector has already taken steps to reduce emissions. Hybrid ferries are already being used in UK waters, including in the Scottish islands and on cross-Solent journeys to the Isle of Wight.
The Port of London Authority also uses hybrid vessels.