Skip to main content

UK Emissions Trading Scheme: Ferry Services

Volume 742: debated on Thursday 14 December 2023

8. If he will make an assessment with Cabinet colleagues of the potential impact of the UK emissions trading scheme on domestic ferry services. (900655)

The UK ETS Authority will publish a second consultation on the implementation of the UK ETS in 2024. We welcome any evidence in response to the consultation. We will publish a full analysis of the policy’s impact in the Government’s response to the consultation. The Department has not yet conducted a full assessment of the implications for domestic ferries.

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. He may be aware that there are many in the shipping industry who are concerned that including lifeline ferry services, such as those that serve my constituency, in the emissions trading scheme could hinder rather than help the process of decarbonisation. The EU has already recognised that by giving its lifeline ferry services a derogation until 2030. Will the shipping Minister—I know it is not this Minister’s responsibility—engage with operators in Scotland and elsewhere to ensure that we are not hit by the law of unintended consequences?

I very much welcome that question. The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland is a doughty champion for ferries in those islands and I know how important ferry services are for residents there. We have been very careful, across our transport decarbonisation plan, not to damage industries or sectors. We have given many billions of pounds in support for the whole range of different transport sectors and domestic ferries are very much a part of that. I am very happy to engage with the sector and to meet him to ensure that the ferries can carry on transporting passengers throughout Orkney, Shetland and elsewhere in the British Isles.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I smile because I am welcoming the Minister to his place perhaps half a dozen Ministers since I first stood at the Dispatch Box—but the best of luck to him in the time ahead. [Laughter.]

Decarbonising maritime will require unprecedented investment in UK technologies, with visionary policy and regulatory frameworks that limit ships’ emissions and mandate the use of clean fuels. When will the Government follow the advice issued by the Transport Committee in June and streamline the muddle of 184 recommendations it set for itself in “Maritime 2050”? Speaking of which, we were promised a refreshed “Maritime 2050” in 2023 by one of the Secretary of State’s many predecessors. There are a handful of days left. Where is it?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for what I am going to call his warm words—it is Christmas, a time to forgive and forget. The clean maritime plan is being refreshed and we will publish it as soon as possible. We are taking in and analysing a very wide range of evidence from a wide range of different people. The Government are committed to the whole “Maritime 2050” plan, and we are investing over £200 million in the UK SHORE programme to help fund research and development to make shipping decarbonise.