I do not propose a blow by blow analysis of the Clean Maritime Plan. The link is given at the head of section 1. The Plan clearly states a number of actions the government (or its agencies) will take, and gives dates. So that begs the question “Did they happen?”
For example, here is a statement from the Plan “The Clean Maritime Plan has also been informed by a programme of economic and technical research, available online”, against which is an endnote reference. Look that up to find “ [reference to be added to .gov.uk]”.I could not find the research, but that may not signify.
Early on reference is made to the Clean Air Strategy which was published earier in 2019. The report states that “Also in the CAS, Government committed to publish in 2019:
● A Call for Evidence to explore options for standardising environmental regulations for vessels operating domestically within the UK, including inland waterways.
● A consultation on options for extending the North Sea Emissions Control Area beyond its current geographical limits or establishing new, geographically distinct, Emissions Control Areas around the UK coast.
● Guidelines to advise ports on how to develop effective and targeted Air Quality Plans “
It seems that this did happen. There is a very comprehensive clean air plan published by the Port of Southampton that clearly derives from this action.
The importance placed on clean air by the local community is emphasised by the publication of a report by Southampton City Council of the relationship between pollution and the new 5th cruise terminal in Southampton, which does have a capability for providing shore power to cruise ships
The next commitment in the report reads “The Government will publish a review of implementation of the Clean Maritime Plan in 2022. At this stage, the operation of the Clean Maritime Council will be reviewed”
“While the Clean Maritime Plan deals only with those Maritime 2050 recommendations relating to zero emission shipping, the other environmental recommendations of Maritime 2050 are also of key importance. Progress against these recommendations will be monitored through the wider Maritime 2050 reporting process. This Annual Report will also report on progress against those recommendations of Maritime 2050 which fall outside the scope of the Clean Maritime Plan”
The government has published its review for 2021. On page 16, there is a long list of actions that government is, or will be, taking in relation to decarbonisation. It looks like the publication of port clean air strategies is the only completed item to date. It is encouraging to see that the process has survived an election and pandemic!
There is a fascinating paragraph in the section on electrification that should be borne in mind by those who think that the ports (especially Southampton) should instantly provide shore power to all ships. It reads “ research commissioned by the Government estimates that UK ports are still likely to see total electricity demand increase significantly by 2050. Without any further policy intervention, this research estimates that the total annual electricity demand at UK ports could rise from 20 GWh in 2016 to around 250 GWh by around 2050, largely driven by the demand for shore power from container vessels. In contrast, under a scenario in which there are very ambitious assumptions about maritime electrification, this research estimates that annual electrical demand at UK major ports could rise to over 4000 GWh by around 2050, predominantly be driven by demand for electric propulsion, but with demand for shore-side power also expected to increase significantly.”
Hmmm. Sobering. (Especially when you add 5 cruise ships each the size of a small town into the Southampton mix!)
Next, a significant “commitment”. It reads “The Government will establish the Maritime Emissions Regulation Advisory Service (MERAS) by 2020. Supported by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, MERAS will provide dedicated support to innovators using zero emission propulsion technologies, assisting them through the regulatory process” and later, “Government will establish the Maritime Emissions Regulation Advisory Service (MERAS) by 2020”
Despite my best endeavours, I can find no current reference to MERAS. It may be faulty searching by me. It could also be that the body has been renamed, or a new approach developed making it unnecessary. It would be interesting to know, because some of the new technologies do not easily map onto existing regulatory structures.
Page 47 of the report lists 6 actions to be completed by end 2019, and a further 5 to be completed before end 2020. It would be surprising if COVID19 has not disrupted this programme, but it would be interesting to learn where we have got to.
So it looks like the government has managed to keep broadly to its timetable, though concrete achievements are rather limited to date.