Keith calls for measures to reduce air pollution from shipping

9 March 2012

Today Keith tabled amendments to a report on maximum levels of sulphur permissible in marine fuels, which is currently being debated in the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee.

Sulphur in fuel results in emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and also contributes to the formation of secondary particulate matter, both of which are harmful to human health. Air pollution from shipping is estimated to cause around 50,000 premature deaths in Europe per year. Furthermore, without urgent action, sulphur oxides and nitrogen oxides emissions are projected to exceed all land-based emissions of these pollutants by 2020.

Keith fully supports the move to bring EU law into line with existing international law, so that sulphur content in marine fuel is reduced. This will lead to substantial air quality benefits in many European coastal regions. Keith's amendments called for, among other things, the extension of Sulphur Emission Control Areas, support for shore-side electricity development so that ships do not have to run their engines while at berth in harbour, nitrogen oxide emission standards for ship engines and support for the introduction of exhaust gas cleaning technologies, which can be used to reduce SO2 from ship engines and boilers.

The amendments will be voted in the Transport and Tourism committee on 20 December.

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