EU Parliament votes for less sulphur in ship fuel
6th June 2003
The European Parliament voted this week to toughen a bill on cutting sulphur emissions from fuel used in ships.
The European Union assembly toughened proposals from the European Commission that would set limits on sulphur in marine fuels for the first time, in an effort to reduce acid rain and improve air quality in coastal areas.
The Commission proposed a 1.5 percent sulphur limit for fuels used by vessels in the Baltic, North Sea and English Channel. Parliament, passing the bill in a first reading, said this should be reduced to 0.5 percent by July 2008.
"Parliament's position would reduce sulphur emissions by the shipping sector by 80 percent - well in excess of the 10 percent suggested by the Commission," said Dutch Green deputy Alexander de Roo, who is leading parliament's work on the bill.
To produce the required amounts of cleaner fuel, the refining industry would need to invest in more desulphurisation equipment, de Roo said.
Although this would be costly, the environmental improvements would be much cheaper to attain at sea than on land where there are already strict EU limits on sulphur, for example in petrol and diesel, he added.
Parliament shares legislative powers on the issue with EU governments, which have yet to debate the bill. Once EU ministers have given their opinion, the legislation will return to parliament for a second and final reading.
Additional information Courtesy ENS