Clean Maritime Plan: Diesel’s days could be numbered for UK domestic vessels and inland waterways

Clean Maritime Plan
Clean Maritime Plan

The diesel engine could be on the way out if the Government carries its recently launched Clean Maritime Plan through to its conclusion.

Part of the Clean Air Strategy, which aims to cut air pollution across all sectors to make the UK “net zero” on greenhouse gases by 2050, the Plan sets out how the Government hopes to achieve ‘zero emissions shipping’. But despite this wording, it doesn’t just affect seagoing craft. The plan also covers inland shipping and recreational boats, and a Call for Evidence has been issued specifically for “domestic vessels and inland waterways”.

This states clearly that “the expectation that the maritime sector will transition away from fossil fuels extends to all parts of the sector, including those vessels on inland waterways”. And a Government announcement accompanying the launch states that “all new vessels for UK waters ordered from 2025 should be designed with zero-emission capable technologies” – which while it doesn’t represent an outright ban on new diesels just yet, suggests a move to hybrid or similar set-ups.

For now, the Call for Evidence is exactly what it says – a request for individuals, groups and businesses to provide evidence of the current situation, including the number, size, age, engine size and fuel type of craft; the operation of any existing regulatory framework; the development of new green technologies; longer term trends in the sector and funding already available for innovation.

Responses to the Call for Evidence must be submitted by 11 January 2020. The Canal & River Trust has already commented that it has begun work in London to “assess how emissions can reasonably and practically be reduced”, but that “our inland waterways already make a significant contribution to helping to reduce air pollution in our towns and cities by providing safe, clean and green opportunities for off-road travel whether walking, cycling or by boat,” and that emissions from canal craft are “a very small proportion of total transport emissions” – although “we recognise that every sector needs to do its bit to reduce emissions overall”.

This is your chance to have your say.

Download the Government’s plan: Clean-Maritime-Plan

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