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Shipping: Pollution

Volume 713: debated on Monday 26 October 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the finding of the Government of Denmark's Environmental Agency research published in 2009 that the health risks of shipping pollution have been underestimated. [HL5636]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider funding or supporting comprehensive research on the effects on United Kingdom coastal communities of shipping pollution, in view of international opinion about health risks from pollution from shipping emissions being underestimated. [HL5637]

While we have not seen the Government of Denmark's Environmental Agency research, the impact on human health of pollutant emissions from shipping has been the subject of other studies in recent years, and both the distance which such emissions can travel and the harmful effects of these emissions are well known.

Moreover, the Government already undertake a significant amount of research into airborne pollutants from both shipping and other sources, including research undertaken in the production of the national air emissions inventory and the research which the Maritime and Coastguard Agency commissioned this year on the impacts of the revised annexe VI of the MARPOL convention.

The Government are therefore not convinced of the need for additional extensive research on this issue.

The Government have taken, and are continuing to take, action to address pollutant emissions from ships, both in the International Maritime Organization (where we played a prominent role in the revision of annexe VI to the MARPOL convention which will significantly reduce pollutant emissions from ships and improve air quality in our coastal regions) and in the European Union (where we are currently implementing Directive 2005/33/EC on the sulphur content of marine fuels).