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MPs urge rethink on sulphur

[ March 9, 2012   //   ]

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has added its voice to industry calls for a rethink on planned EU ship emission limits. MPs have called on the UK government to negotiate to ensure the EU Directive goes no further than the revised MARPOL agreed in 2008, in a report examining the draft EU directive.

Launching ‘Sulphur emissions by ships’, committee chair Louise Ellman, said : “We endorse the Government’s support for the more stringent regulation of sulphur emissions.” However, she added, “We believe that it’s not appropriate for the Commission to go further than these globally-agreed limits by imposing tighter regulations on shipping operators at this time.”

But the Committee did not agree with the Minister’s assertion that the Government will not negotiate with the Commission on its proposals.

The European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment adopted its first-reading report on revision of new sulphur limits for shipping fuels, despite the opposition of the industry and some MEPs. The measure now needs to be adopted at the Parliament’s plenary session, expected in late May.Under the proposals, existing sulphur limits would be lowered from 3.5% to 0.5% by 2015 (five years sooner than under the IMO standard) and to 0.1% by 2020, which would be stricter than the IMO. Fuels used in member states’ territorial waters (12 nautical miles) should not exceed the limit of 0.1% from 2015 and would be comparable to the IMO level for areas requiring special protection (SECAs – sulphur emission control areas), which in Europe are the North Sea, the Channel and the Baltic. However, the Parliament’s proposed limit would apply more widely in the EU. However, many MEPs complained that the move would load extra costs on the shipping industry.

 

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