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Milford Haven tops list of UK’s most polluted ports

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NEW analysis by Transport & Environment UK (T&E UK) has revealed alarming levels of air pollution from ships at UK ports, with Milford Haven, Southampton, and Immingham emerging as the top three for harmful sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions. The study highlights the urgent need for regulatory action to address the severe environmental and health impacts associated with shipping emissions.

The findings show that in 2022, just 472 ships visiting Milford Haven produced nearly 100 times more SOx emissions than all of Pembrokeshire’s 67,000 cars. This disparity is stark, given that Milford Haven had only half the ship traffic of Immingham, which ranked second, yet still managed to emit 50% more SOx. Southampton, ranking third, saw 46 cruise ships – representing a mere 6% of its total vessels – contributing more SOx than 200 container ships.

The top ten ports for SOx pollution, according to T&E UK, collectively saw 3,700 ships emitting 30 times more SOx than the one million cars registered in their respective local authority areas. This paints a troubling picture of the pollution burden borne by port communities.

In terms of nitrogen oxides (NOx), ships in the top ten polluted ports produced nearly 1.75 times as much NOx as the 970,000 cars registered in those areas. Southampton again topped this list, with its ships producing four times more NOx than all the city’s cars, half of which came from cruise ships. The scenario was similar for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), where Southampton also led, with ships producing half as much PM2.5 as a million cars, with cruise ships contributing significantly.

Ships not only release poisonous exhaust fumes but also discharge pollutant-laden wash water from exhaust gas cleaning systems, commonly known as “scrubbers.” This wash water, dumped directly into the sea, adversely affects marine life and exacerbates ocean pollution, a growing concern in the UK. Despite this, only a few UK ports prohibit such discharges.

T&E UK’s rankings were derived from an analysis of SOx, NOx, and PM2.5 emissions from commercial passenger and cargo ships docked at UK ports in 2022. The study included vessels mooring within a 1.5 nautical mile radius of a port’s main coordinates, with emissions compared to pollution from cars registered in the same local authority areas, based on data from the Department for Transport and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

T&E UK has called for the government to enact comprehensive policy and regulations to address air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from UK shipping. The forthcoming refreshed Clean Maritime Plan is seen as a critical opportunity for action. Key recommendations include mandating zero-emission berths, implementing a shore-side electricity plan, charging ships for emissions while moored, and designating all UK territorial waters as Emission Control Areas. Additionally, a prohibition on scrubber wash water discharge is urged.

Jonathan Hood, UK Sustainable Shipping Manager at T&E, stated: “The awful levels of pollution revealed in this analysis demonstrate how the UK’s port cities are being choked by the harmful fumes caused by a shipping industry that, thanks to years of government inaction, has no impetus to change. The government has its last chance to chart a better course for the industry with the updated Clean Maritime Plan and it must not waste this opportunity. We need to see a rapid switch away from filthy fossil fuels, and ports must set binding targets to implement zero-emission technologies. These must include shore-side electricity, which would ensure ships can plug in at port and switch off their polluting engines.”

The Rt Hon. the Lord Deben, former Chairman of the UK Government’s Climate Change Committee, added: “It is disheartening to see the staggering levels of emissions from ships around UK ports, as revealed by T&E’s new analysis. There is an urgent need for stringent action from the government by prioritising stricter emissions control measures around UK territorial waters, increasing the use of shore-side electricity across ports, and prohibiting the discharge of dirty scrubber water into waterways. Without decisive action, the health impacts for residents and workers in port towns, not to mention economic costs, will continue to soar, leaving communities to suffer the dire consequences of inaction.”

The Port of Milford Haven said it was “working incredibly hard, inside our own business and with our customers, to reduce emissions and deliver an accelerated transition to a Net Zero future”.

A Port of Milford spokesperson said:  “The Port of Milford Haven is the busiest energy port in the UK supporting Britain and Europe with vital energy and fuel. As custodians of the Milford Haven Waterway, our environment is very important to us.  Sustainability is one of our core values and we are working incredibly hard, inside our own business and with our customers, to reduce emissions and deliver an accelerated transition to a Net Zero future. 

“This year, the Port implemented a ‘Green Ship Incentive Program’ to provide discounted rates for ships that perform better in reducing air emissions.  Milford Haven is one of the first UK ports – and the only one in Wales – to financially incentivise environmental improvements to ships. 

“In addition, the Port is one of only a handful of UK ports to prohibit ships that use open loop scrubbers to clean exhaust emissions from discharging their wash water within the Milford Haven Waterway. 

“The Port of Milford Haven supports the British Port Association’s rebuttal of the report produced by Transport and Energy (T&E) UK and question the methodology they have used to reach their conclusions.  We are also disappointed they did not engage with us ahead of the report’s launch. 

“The Port of Milford Haven has a pivotal role to play in delivering the UK’s Net Zero ambitions offering a whole energy cycle solution that will unlock accelerated transition while stimulating economic growth.  Together with our customers, we are committed to a resilient, low carbon future and as a lead partner in the Milford Haven Energy Cluster we have documented a pathway to achieve this here: Milford Haven Waterway Future Energy Cluster – Delivering an accelerated transition to a Net Zero future – 2023 on Vimeo.” 

The British Ports Association, which represents UK operators, said the report lacked critical context and industry research showed emissions from ports were a fraction of wider background emissions in most cities.

Mark Simmonds, the association’s policy director, said most of the industry had “ambitious” net-zero targets, which would have “a positive impact on air quality”.

Crime

Police appeal for information following assault at railway station

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OFFICERS in Pembrokeshire are investigating a report of an assault on a woman that happened outside Haverfordwest Railway Station at approximately 8:10pm on Monday (Jun 17).

One man, aged 49, was arrested on suspicion of common assault and remains in police custody.

Did you witness the assault or have any information that could help officers with their investigation? If so, get in touch:

🖥️ | https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline

📧 | [email protected]

💬 | Direct message us on social media

📞 | 101

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Busy weekend for the rescue team at HM Coastguard Dale

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HM Coastguard Dale said they were paged at 05.35 HRS to assist police in the Milford Haven area on Sunday (Jun 16).

Police received a call at 5am, raising concern for the welfare of an individual.

The individual is now safe they said.

Angle Lifeboat RNLI also attended the incident

Then at 10.13 HRS the team were called on again after a vessel reported a person face down on a cliff near Wooltack point. The team made their way to the scene and rendezvous with NCI Wooltack Point. It was quickly ascertained that this was a false call with good intentions. Team then stood down.

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Tributes paid to ‘much-loved’ couple who died in A477 collision

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THE FAMILIES of a much-loved couple who died in a collision on the A477 on Thursday, June 13, 2024, have paid tribute to them.

Katie Worrell, aged 25, and Adam Muskett, aged 27, were involved in a two-vehicle collision between Llanddowror and Red Roses at around 4pm on Thursday, June 13. Two cars were involved in the collision – a black Jaguar and a black Ford Fiesta.

A statement from Katie’s family said: “Katie was a much-loved daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and cousin. She lived life to the full, loving to travel and achieving so much in such a short time, she graduated with a Masters and worked hard. She loved her friends and Adam beyond words. Katie was kind, caring and beautiful and our lives will never be the same without her.”

Adam’s family have issued a statement to say: “Adam, our loving son, brother, grandson and nephew. He loved life, his friends, Tenby, football and Katie very much. How do we move on without you, your big kind heart and cheeky smile. We are heartbroken and forever proud.”

Anyone travelling on the A477, at or near to that location at the time, is requested to contact Police.

Investigating officers would particularly like to speak to any motorists who were in the area at that time who have dash cam in their vehicles.

Anyone with any information can contact the police on 101.

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