The British Ports Association (BPA) has expressed its disappointment over the Government of the UK’s new Clean Air Strategy that includes requirements for all major ports in England to develop air quality plans within the next year.

It was claimed that emissions from the global shipping sector have a significant impact on the country’s air quality.

As part of the new Clean Air Strategy, all major ports in England are required to frame air quality plans by next year to lower emissions across the port premise that facilitates ship and shore activities.

Responding to the strategy, BPA said that the government’s claim is based on assumptions garnered by reports that have used limited methodology in identifying vessels’ fuel type and sulphur content, as well as their engine types.

There is also no credibility around source apportionment in emission monitoring, BPA claimed.

“Ports handle 95% of the UK’s trade and moving freight by sea is still by far the most environmentally friendly way to facilitate global trade.”

BPA policy manager Mark Simmonds said: “Ports and shipping are part of the solution, not the problem, and it is disappointing that the government have missed the opportunity to promote shipping as the cleanest way to move freight.

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“Ports handle 95% of the UK’s trade and moving freight by sea is still by far the most environmentally friendly way to facilitate global trade, as well as ensuring our economy continues to function and our food and energy supplies are secure.

“In comparison with other transport modes, shipping is an efficient and environmentally sustainable option.

“Utilising the UK’s hundreds of ports in supporting more coastal shipping has the potential to take thousands of lorries off of UK roads.”

Simmonds also added that the industry will play its role and work with the government on improving air quality, but this has to be done following holistic approach and using credible evidence.