Industry and MPs to highlight jobs threat of impending sulphur regulations in week long campaign

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The UK Chamber, with the support of Karl Turner MP and other cross-party MPs, has secured a debate in the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 18 June to discuss the huge economic and environmental impact of impending sulphur regulations. The debate will be the central point of a week intending show Government what it should be doing to ensure that whilst the environmental goals are met, it is not done in a manner that will damage jobs, businesses and indeed the environment itself.

We support the move to reduce sulphur emissions and the introduction of tough new limits from 1 Jan 2015. There are two ways of doing this: by using either low sulphur fuels or fitting specialist technology to ships.

A sharp increase in demand for low sulphur fuel will see a massive spike in costs both for shipowners and potentially for ordinary diesel car users - so we need to use the new technology instead. But that technology is only now beginning to work, and could take up to two years to fit properly to all of our ships.

A report by AMEC recently said if we implement new regulations before the technology is ready, then 2,000 UK jobs could be lost, thousands more lorries will clog up our roads and 12 million tonnes of additional Co2 will be emitted into our atmosphere unnecessarily.

Reducing sulphur is a job we agree needs doing, but it needs to be done in a pragmatic way that protects jobs as well as the environment. All we’re asking for is the EU to understand the practical realities we face and give us the time we need to comply.

We know other countries within the EU share our concerns – but they are waiting for leadership from the UK. So this is an issue in Europe where the Prime Minister can make a real difference, it is a real opportunity for him to stand up for British business in Europe and succeed. We are simply asking that he takes it.

Next week, thanks to the persistence of the UK Chamber and the support of MPs representing port constituencies, an adjournment debate has been tabled in the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 18 June to discuss the impact of these regulations. Also during the week the following concurrent actions are intended:

• we are working with partners to ensure MPs are aware of the debate and are fully briefed to take part

• we have commissioned an animated video that will be made public on Tuesday 17 June. This will be published on the UK Chamber and Maritime UK websites

• the video will be featured as the lead story on the Guido Fawkes website ensuring a very broad political and journalist audience. This site has around 200,000 hits per day

• an article was published today (Thursday 12 June) in the Financial Times. Interestingly, the EU Commission spokesperson who was quoted in the article admitted that the regulations would have a detrimental impact on some companies

• a further article will be published on the Conservative Home website

• a joint industry letter will be sent to leading broadsheet papers for publication on Wednesday and we anticipate around 40 names from shipping and ports companies and others

• we hope to secure a question being asked at next week’s Prime Minister’s Questions and will also be writing to the Prime Minister.

If you are a member and what to know what more you can do to help next week’s campaign then look out for the Bulletin, or check the newsletter page, tomorrow morning where we will have prepared five simple steps for members.

For more information please contact the UK Chamber’s Head of Communications, Jonathan Roberts, or our Director Safety and Environment David Balston.