Britain to order ships with zero emission technology from 2025

The James Newman Woolwich Ferry crosses the River Thames in front of Canary Wharf, London's financial district February 6, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Boyce

OSLO (Reuters) - Britain’s government on Thursday said all new ships ordered from 2025 and aimed for its waters must be equipped with zero emission technology, as part of a new plan to cut maritime pollution.

Britain last month announced a target to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, making it the first among the major G7 countries to set such a goal.

As part of a new “Clean Maritime Plan” unveiled on Thursday, the government said ships ordered from 2025 onwards must have zero-emission capabilities. Such vessels usually can be powered by batteries or biofuels, for example, and maintain a fossil fuel alternative as a back up.

“The government is also looking at ways to incentivize the transition to zero-emission shipping and will consult on this next year,” the British transport department said.

It said a 1 million pound ($1.25 million) competition had been launched to find news ways to cut maritime emissions.

Britain’s maritime sector has already taken steps to reduce emissions. Hybrid ferries are already being used in UK waters, including in the Scottish islands and on cross-Solent journeys to the Isle of Wight.

The Port of London Authority also uses hybrid vessels.

Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos, editing by Deepa Babington