Thursday, March 21, 2013

Victoria's Green Matters - 21st March 2013

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury

There was a worrying report last week concerning our cross channel ferries. Shipping companies are going to be required to reduce the emissions from their ferries in line with a global maritime pollution convention that requires sulphur emissions on the seas to the east and south of Britain to be reduced from 2015.

Sulphur emissions are responsible for many thousands of premature deaths each year. The low grade fuel that is used by ships has 2,000 times the sulphur content of the diesel used by British cars and ferries will be forced to use much cleaner fuel or fit expensive technology to clean up emissions in the near future. The cleaner fuel will cost up to 30% more and shipping companies will obviously pass on this increase to customers.

For those of us who commit to ‘no fly’ holidays and enjoy trips across the Channel to France and onward, this will be a great disappointment. It will also encourage people to fly on more short journeys because, for one reason, it will be cheaper. One of the main reasons that air travel is cheaper, of course, is that aviation fuel is not subject to tax like other fuels. If the tax levels were equalled there would be no cheap flights. Our commitment to a cleaner environment for all should mean that cleaner fuel should be available without the penalty of extra cost for all, no matter which form of transport we take.

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