UK inland waterways sustainability requires investment

The installation of 300 shore power mains connection charging sites is just one recommendation for the UK Government from the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) to make boating more sustainable. The infrastructure investment would improve air quality by reducing the emissions from stoves for heating and engines run for charging batteries, as well as enabling a move towards more boats with electric propulsion, says the IWA’s Sustainable Propulsion Group.

Other recommendations include a national dredging programme across Britain’s inland waterways, working with navigation authorities, to make propulsion more efficient.

Research into biofuels – into the production, use and distribution of biofuels – which will reduce the environmental impact of existing diesel and petrol engines.

In addition, research and development of alternative forms of propulsion should be carried out, including hydrogen production and distribution, hydrogen and solid oxide fuel cells and the use of supercapacitors, which would allow these technologies to be developed and trialled in new build boats.

There are around 80,000 powered craft on the inland waterways of England, Scotland and Wales, with the majority of these having hydrocarbon engines.

The recommendations are in response to the UK Government’s strategy to reduce emissions from diesel and petrol engines, allowing the inland waterways to contribute to the UK meeting its goal of zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

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