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Calls for crack down on ship fumes

PUBLISHED: 16:15 11 June 2003 | UPDATED: 13:59 03 March 2010

EURO MPs are today calling for new measures to crack down on one of Felixstowe's biggest pollution problems - smoky emissions from ships in port.

Suffolk Coastal council is currently carrying out a six-month study into the pollution from ships' funnels berthed at the container terminal amid concern that the fumes waft across the resort.

EURO MPs are today calling for new measures to crack down on one of Felixstowe's biggest pollution problems – smoky emissions from ships in port.

Suffolk Coastal council is currently carrying out a six-month study into the pollution from ships' funnels berthed at the container terminal amid concern that the fumes waft across the resort.

The fumes contain sulphur dioxide and chemical particles which can nestle deep in the lungs and cause respiratory problems.

Emissions from ships working in European waters have increased by nearly 30pc over the past ten years, while similar pollution from land-based sources has decreased by some 60pc.

The American Environmental Protection Agency's figures show that large ships visiting its ports belch 273 thousand tons per year – 748 tons each day – of nitrogen oxide into the country's air.

MEPs are now working on a new law to curb sulphur emissions from ships operating in the North Sea, which include the 4,500 visiting Felixstowe – Britain's biggest boxport – each year.

They plan to introduce a 1.5pc sulphur content limit in marine fuels used by the ships in European waters by 2007.

To enforce the new laws, a pro-active system of sanctions and inspections would be set up.

"This analysis rate would help reduce the risk of non-compliance, due to increased probability that samples taken will actually be analysed," said a joint statement by MEPs.

The statement said the new rules would apply to both cargo ships and passenger ferries. The European Commission will now be asked to toughen up and fine-tune its proposals reading for them to become law.

Air quality consultants are currently studying emissions from ships at Felixstowe, and also fumes and chemicals from a number of non-shipping sources following concern from families about pollution causing illnesses, including asthma.

One of the main concerns was fumes spewing from traffic on the A14 and wafting into homes, but research by Suffolk Coastal council in a £100,000 project on air quality has not found high levels of carbon monoxide and emissions known as particulate matter.

Shipping and activities around the 700-acre port complex though are a different matter. Results gathered of the amount of sulphur dioxide coming from the funnels of ships berthing and leaving the quays will be compared with data collected at other major ports, such as Southampton.

WEBLINK: www.suffolkcoastal.gov.uk/envhealth/airquality.html

n What do you think – are you worried about the fumes being pumped out from ships at Felixstowe? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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