New levy

Cruise ships visiting Scotland to face emissions tax

Cruise ships
817,000 cruise ship passengers visited Scotland in 2019

Cruise ships visiting Scotland will be charged a new tax under plans to tackle harmful carbon emissions, the Scottish Green party has announced.

Circular economy minister Lorna Slater told her party’s conference in Dunfermline that this could target the most polluting vessels.

She said that hopes it will incentivise operators to use less-polluting vessels, and that Scotland should follow actions by other countries.

Europe’s most polluted port, Barcelona, announced a ban on cruise ships, while Norway will refuse to allow all but zero emission ships to sail its fjords in two years. 

China unveiled its first battery-powered electric cruise ship last month. Scandinavian cruise line Hurtigruten says it will launch an AI enabled, electric vessel with 164ft tall retractable sails covered in solar panels by 2030.  

Ms Slater told her party’s conference in Dunfermiline: “We will work with our partners in local government to empower councils to charge visiting cruise ships a levy.

“It will mean communities hosting cruise ships get the investment they deserve, and our aim would also be to encourage greener ships.

“This is essential – one ship produces the same amount of carbon emissions as 12,000 cars; operators have been allowed to get away with polluting for too long.”

A total of 817,000 cruise ship passengers visited Scotland in 2019 and some councils have raised concerns about the trade is having.

Orkney Council last month approved plans to limit the number of ships that can visit at one time.

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