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Maritime Industry: Decarbonisation

Volume 700: debated on Thursday 9 September 2021

We have set out our plans in the transport decarbonisation plan, and have committed £20 million through the clean maritime demonstration competition.

The port of Falmouth has a wonderful maritime heritage and huge potential in the industry. It has already done some fantastic environmental work, including the preservation of more than 100 acres of sea grass. Will my hon. Friend commit to working closely with ports such as Falmouth to ensure that we can sustainably decarbonise the maritime industry, while continuing to enable the industry to grow and prosper?

I can absolutely commit to that. It is vital that we work with all elements of the maritime industry to accelerate the transition to net zero and to take advantage of the very real opportunities for green growth. Both the British Ports Association and the UK Major Ports Group are represented on our clean maritime council, and I and my officials regularly engage with the trade associations and individual ports on environmental issues.

I agree with the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth (Cherilyn Mackrory) that fantastic projects are under way across the UK, including in her constituency, to get the maritime sector down to net zero. There is, however, a significant funding gap when it comes to making these developments a reality, and the Government, despite their record, have not done anywhere near enough to address the significant investment shortfall compared with other maritime nations that we compete with. Does the Minister agree that it is imperative that our vital maritime sector gets the support it needs? Will he commit to addressing that and providing the necessary funding to support the research and innovation that is required?

I agree with the hon. Gentleman about the importance of decarbonising the maritime sector, but I cannot agree with him about the Government investment. We have invested £20 million in the clean maritime demonstration competition. That seedcorn funding will help to develop the technology that we will be using. It is the largest technology competition ever run by the Department for Transport. I am very glad that next week we have London International Shipping Week, which is the flagship event of the maritime year. We will be able to see the glories of the UK’s maritime industry next week, and I look forward to seeing the hon. Gentleman there.