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Boats: Exhaust Emissions

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL13985, tabled on 8 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce smoke and diesel pollution from canal boats moored in residential areas; and what assessment they have made of the case for removing the exemption for such vessels from the Clean Air Act 1954.

Answered on

22 March 2021

Domestic solid fuel burning is a major contributor to fine particulate matter emissions, and in line with our Clean Air Strategy, we are taking action to tackle this issue including from moored canal boats.

Through the Environment Bill we are amending the Clean Air Act 1993 to make it easier for local authorities to reduce smoke emissions from domestic burning in smoke control areas (SCAs). This includes enabling local authorities to bring moored inland waterway vessels such as canal boats into scope of SCAs should they have a specific issue in their area. In such cases, chimney smoke from boats could be liable to a financial penalty. The use of this power will be subject to public consultation by local authorities.

In addition, we recently introduced new legislation to restrict the sale of the most polluting solid fuels used in domestic burning, including on canal boats used for permanent habitation. The aim of this legislation is to drive a transition to cleaner fuels: from wet wood to dry wood (which can reduce emissions by 50%), and from traditional house coal to smokeless coal and low sulphur manufactured solid fuels. We will also be ensuring that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022.

My department will continue to review emissions from these sources and will monitor the impact of the new legislation, considering in due course any additional legislative measures that may be needed to reduce emission levels further.