British paper industry calls for delay to marine fuels sulphur limit

The UK's paper industry has criticised a European Parliament agreement to limit the sulphur content of marine fuel, arguing it will "distort" competition and damage economic growth.

This follows a recent announcement by the European Council of Ministers that a compromise agreement had been made to reduce sulphur content of marine fuels from 1.0% to 0.1% in 2015 in the North Sea, Baltic Seas and English Channel (SECA).

However, elsewhere in Europe the limit will remain until 3.5% until 2020, while outside of EU waters this limit is set to be extended until 2025.

The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) and Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) said while they recognise that air pollution from shipping is a major environmental issue that needs addressing that the way in which changes are being enforced in the SECA region will “distort competition” at a time when the EU as a whole, needs to be concentrating all of its efforts on enacting measures to generate growth and jobs.

The UK’s paper industry, along with other Northern European industries, also said that the agreement does not take into account the concerns of the business community.

As a result, the CPI said it is continuing to lobby the UK Government and European Parliament in an attempt to draw attention to the “significant” cost impact on those Northern European industries that operate in SECA waters.
CPI director general, David Workman, commented: “This is yet another government imposed cost on industry at a time when we can least afford it.

“The European authorities should ensure, if nothing else, that all EU Member States operate on a level playing field. This measure will not only distort competition with the rest of the world, but within the EU itself. We call upon the UK Government to intercede with the IMO (International Maritime Organisation), as well as the European Parliament and Council of Ministers to delay implementation of these new limits until such time as they can be applied across all EU waters”.

Carys Matthews

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